The storm of life is raging for me at the moment, but maybe not in the way you’d expect. Let’s just say I’ve been thinking differently about what I want. Doing so has made me contemplate the temporality of things and shift my focus regarding what’s important.
I finished Alan Jacobs’ Breaking Bread with the Dead last night and the final paragraphs hit me like a ton of bricks:
“In the mid-1950s, when Robert Moses was the most powerful man in New York City, he oversaw the construction of a convention center at Columbus Circle that he called, and caused others to call, the New York Coliseum. Years later, when Robert Caro was writing his biography of Moses, Moses cooperated, but would regularly ask of the book scornfully, “How long will it last? In a short while, it will be yesterday’s news”–not worthy to be compared to a mighty coliseum.
“Late in the year 1999, Caro watched from with windows of his office as workers began dismantling the Coliseum, which has since been replaced by the Time Warner Center. Relating this story to a journalist, Caro said, “When they tore it down, I felt something about books.”
It continues to baffle me, the things that outlive us, the ways in which our legacies transcend our expectations. Like many other young artists, I used to have such romantic notions of what it meant to leave something behind, but I suppose I’ve reached the age where I understand how trivial it is trying to control these things.
The best way–in fact, the only way–to leave anything behind is to invest in the present, to plant everything you in the moment at your feet.