Recently I turned thirty-five years old and have been struggling with it ever since. My dad calls me four or five times a month to see what is going on and if my family and I are okay. Usually about three out of the five times I talk to him he reports that someone I knew has passed away.
I think most of the problem I have is a mental one that stems from the fact that I have a multiple personality consisting of two parts of a single mind—the child persona who is a happy go lucky guy, full of humor and pranks and never worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow and goes about life without a care in the world, and the adult aspect who is the serious, responsible guy, the one who is the planner, the worrier, the leader among his peers.
Every time I hear of these people I knew passing on, it cuts another tie I have to my childish past, diminishing it. I think the reason that I have these feelings is because I cling to this childish part of me knowing that it will probably be diminished completely at the time my dad passes on and I am afraid of who I will become. Will I be the old man on his porch yelling at the kids in the neighborhood to get off his lawn? Will I still have direction in life? Some of you may say that is what growing up is, but I don’t agree with that sentiment.
My whole life I have had the strong feeling that I was put on this earth for a reason, that I was here for some purpose that would benefit those around me or the world in general. I am not a scientist that can make a breakthrough for mankind or an artist or musician to inspire others with beauty and sound or a gifted architect to create a structure that will endure for generations or even a political leader to change a social wrong. Sure I’ve moved a couple of rungs up the corporate ladder, but it is for a company that couldn’t care less about me or the accomplishments I’ve achieved.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that for most of us after two or three generations we will be reduced to nothing more than a birth record and a death certificate. It will be like we never existed. Although I have asked my dad to put down in print the knowledge he has about our family the only thing I can tell you is that my great-grandfather stowed away on a ship from England when he was thirteen years old. His name? I have no idea or even what he looks like. Even famous people finally succumb to this phenomenon. Ask a child today who Jimmy Stewart, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers or countless others from the era that my parents were from and the kids now have no idea who you are talking about.
I was raised as a Baptist, but although religion did teach me morals and the right way I should live, it never really gave me a direction, nothing I saw to give me a reason that I am here. I mean if I had never existed, would the world be different? I doubt it.
So how does an average guy like me put his mark on the world? The only way I can tell is through our children. Maybe my reason for being here is not to do anything special in my life but to start another life that will do great things. If we can instill the strong beliefs that we have in our children, teach them what is right and wrong and steer them in the right direction of life, then maybe we can leave that legacy behind that just might change the world for the better.