It seems a number of Boo Tribbers have suggested to me during our get acquainted moments that they don’t feel they have done much of importance in their lives, or they
aren’t sure that they are of any real value.  

When I ran across a much longer piece that I had written about such questions that seem to be an ever present part of the “Conventional Wisdom”, I thought I would share a part of it with you as my perspective.  

It is all about C W O E. . .conventional wisdom on earth. Perhaps as you see a bit through my eyes you will see that really, you are much more valuable and important than you may think.

What is the measure of a Life?
C-Woe-isms are sprinkled liberally through every phase of our lives.

CWOE:  Get into college, choose your major, study diligently, graduate and go to work.  Four to five years and you’ve got it!

I can’t tell you how foolish an idea this was to me.  There you are with that enormous banquet of classes on every imaginable  subject and once you pick a major you are confined to such narrow exposure of subjects, limited to such a small area of study that it takes the heart out of it.  I stepped into a wonderland of potentials and wanted to gorge myself on the all the amazing things laid out on that banquet table.

Music, Art, History, a plethora of Cultural Studies, Literature, Dance, Theater, Physics, Sports,  Philosophy,  Political Science, Biology, Psychology, Sociology, Languages, Law, Library Science, Architecture, Sports, Archeology. . .do you remember looking at that University class catalog?  Why oh why would you not want to load up your plate with some of everything?  I did.  And I continue to.  Once started on this path of discovery I could see that there would never be an end to it.  How wonderful that there would never be an end to it!

CWOE:  Really, you must choose what it is you want to be when you grow up.

Well, there are two things glaringly wrong with that one.  What you want to be means choosing one thing over many other possibilities and grow up is just totally not something I would choose to do.  I wanted to be EVERYTHING and I never wanted to lose that childlike wonder that fuels my interests in and curiosity of all things.  When asked in my mid life who I was by someone who had a real interest in knowing, I responded:  ” I am the student and the teacher.  Being a teacher of course requires that you are ever the student.”  Yes, that encompassed it very well.  

CWOE:  Teach what?  That there is more to do and see and experience here in a lifetime than can ever be done.  Of course, it has taken me a lifetime to get those pieces of paper that convey alphabet letters after my name.  So certainly I have and am doing precisely what I intended to do.

CWOE:  Well then, you certainly haven’t accomplished much during a whole lifetime, have you?

By what measure could I consider that CWOE?  Have I had a fabulously successful career using my Bachelor of Science degree in Insatiable Curiosity?  No, I have not.  Did I at least find my way into a good career in business or industry?  No, I did not.  But, I found my way wherever I went and I tried an enormous variety of jobs, work and careers.  There was too much to see and do and experience to worry about such a thing.

CWOE:  Certainly we could not view you as being very successful.

Of course you couldn’t.  But I do.  I have done exactly what I have chosen to do.  With all the wisdom of a 15 year old, and I don’t think we can underestimate the depth of the wisdom of that age, I wanted to be a writer.  I knew that in order to write with authenticity I would need to experience life to the fullest degree I was willing to.  I have done that.  

CWOE views success in terms of money, possessions, status and respect of peers at a professional/societal level.  You can count me out of that measure.

You know those heart warming stories considered to be so corny about people who have led purposeful lives in the shadow of more lauded, more noticed, more acceptable successful people?  You guessed it.  They are what it is really about.  The poor black mother and father that raised 8 children who all now are PhD educated and teaching at Universities.  That’s a measure of a life.  The great auto mechanic that works out of his garage at home and coaches the neighborhood soccer team and has a quick smile and a joke to share with everyone.  That is a measure of a life.  The woman that has struggled, as most everyone does, to raise her children yet has that remarkable depth and love for everyone around her and shares it unquestioningly with all she meets, always with a smile, always with understanding and caring.  That is a measure of a life.

The artist who paints and draws meaningful beauty to share with those of us who are not so abundantly talented, yet who was unable to ever make more than an average or less than average living at it.  That is a measure of a life.  The neighbor who visits the nursing home nearby every week to bring some warmth and the comfort of another human who truly cares to those who feel so abandoned.  That is a measure of a life.  A life lived with purpose is the ultimate success story.  And the purpose may only appear to be that a life was lived exactly as it was chosen to be lived.

CWOE:  No, you have to do or be something outstanding.

Yes, and we all do and are, each in our own way.

CWOE:  Then you must have written and published many things of interest and importance?

Oh, there is no doubt that I have written a great deal, reams of paper have words that flowed through me and danced across the pages.  Whether they are of interest and importance to anyone other than me is not something I know or even need to know.  Published?  Not yet and who knows, it may be not ever.  Why could that possibly make much difference?  Many words have been shared with many friends and strangers, friends of friends and friends of strangers.  It continues to be up to them to find interest and importance if there is any.

CWOE:  Then what’s the point.  You will never be recognized or successful with that attitude.

I know.  Isn’t it wonderful.  What you don’t seem to get is that writing is who I am.  It is about breathing words. It is not about looking for approval or some idea of succeeding.  It has come to the place that the choice became me. I have become what I have chosen.  To say that there is no purpose in writing if the goal is not to become published and recognized in the world does not begin to encompass what it truly is. I am the words and they are me.  The words are the voice of my soul.  They are shared where they are needed or welcomed.  What is there beyond that?  

What is the measure of a Life?

What is the measure of your Life?  Perhaps a great deal more than you think. . .


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