100 Years

May 16, 2010

I listened to Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff on tape a few years ago.  I took away some good pointers from the late Richard Carlson.  Others made me laugh—intentionally, I think—for their goofiness.

One from this latter list: “In a hundred years, all new people.”  Assigning humanity with a turnover rate tickled me.    Dr. Carlson’s point, clearly, was that all the tasks we consider so important here and now aren’t actually that important when we take a longer view.  His way of saying it stuck with me, even if it didn’t quite drive home the point.

It is true: people a hundred years from now won’t care about the minutia of what I accomplish during a given day.  Then of course, they also wouldn’t care if I were fired from my job, either.  If I lost my house, the future generation wouldn’t bat an eye.  They could stretch in collective yawns if I were to become an alcoholic.  They would skim by my meaningless statistic if I were sent to prison.

People yet unborn won’t care about many pressing current matters.  But the little details of my life—whether I get a proposal submitted by its Monday deadline for instance—are linked to a chain of potential consequences that will likely be as repugnant to future responsible-types as they are to me now.  That the heirs of the earth (hell, 99.99% of the current population) will never care about me and a handful of other of deadline-driven bidders is a dubious consolation.

I alluded to Richard Carlson’s passing.  He did not live a long life, leaving behind a wife and young children.  He encouraged people to enjoy life in the moment—not to pin their happiness on ever-changing and elusive goals.  The world needs more people who remind us of that.  It is indeed sad that the hundred-year turnover will come so soon for Dr. Carlson.


One comment

  1. Although Dr. Carlson will not be here, and likely his wife or children, his subsequent blood line will probably care a little. Assuming he took care of them financially and wasn’t so short sighted, living in the moment, that he left them with nothing.

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