Earlier this year a man I did not know very well died. It was sudden, an accident. He was well known and lots of people wrote about it at the time. I did not. I had exchanged a few messages with him over the last couple of years, as I am sure he did with many, many other people who followed his work. I did not want to write about him as though I was part of the grief, I wasn’t. He was a small part of my story and I was an even smaller part of his, that is all. But here, at the end of the year, I find myself thinking about him, his work and his sudden departure.
I found his work by mistake. When I first became unwell I stumbled upon him online. I spent a lot of time online. When you are stuck in bed there’s not a lot else to do that makes you feel connected with the outside world. His mission, if I may use such a fancy word, was to connect people to the work that they love. Being someone who was at that time embroiled in work I very much did not love the message spoke to me. And so I followed his work for the next few years, read what he wrote, spoke to him a couple of times. I didn’t find any answers about my own work but I liked him and what he had to say. And he was doing it, what he loved. He did what he loved. Then he died.
He died. And he was young. Younger than I am now. And it scared me a bit in that way that sudden death always does. That, this is it way, that do something now, now, now way. I’ve been untangling the life purpose question now for a few years. But it’s a silly question that makes a silly knot and trying to untangle it can only lead to a comedy sequence. Don’t try it, unless you are a clown. If you are a clown then by all means go for it, it will be good research for a show.
So there is no answer to that silly, knot of all knots. But there is this thought that I also stumbled across just this week (I seem to stumble a lot, and I don’t even drink!)
For those of you too lazy to read it (and quite right, ’tis the season to be lazy after all) it basically says bollocks to the life purpose/work thing. Just love yourself, that’ll do. And because I am always right I think it probably will. However, because I am also always wrong you might want to watch this too. If Viktor Frankl can find meaning in the camps then meaning there must be.
But still, love yourself, just a little bit, or a lot if you can, that would be even better. Sounds obvious enough but who do you know who is actually doing that? Really doing that? Are you? Because I know I’m not, not yet. But when I see my kids I sure as hell want them to do it and how can they if I won’t model if for them first? How can they possibly know? But what if…
…what if you are already enough? What if there’s nothing else you need to do/get/have/be. What if you’ve already arrived and it’s all lovely? What if you are good enough? Like a Christmas tree. They are pretty good on their own. Yes we all like the tinsel but at the end of the day a tree is a bloody marvellous thing, in fact we’re kind of fucked without them. So what if you are already a very lovely tree and sure, get a bauble or two, even a star to stick on your head but you don’t actually need it, not really. You’re a tree and tree’s are lovely.
I suppose that’s my final thought for the year. How dramarama of me. Be a tree. May your roots be deep and your branches long and evergreen.