He walks down the sidewalk at the speed of someone with nowhere to go. A shadow cast from his dark Superbowl XVII hat paints his sun-worn face. He pulls pinches of sunflower seeds from their home in the pocket of his collared shirt and takes his time eating them — chewing to the rhythm of his steps. He doesn’t have any place to be today — no meetings to lead, no people to manage, no competitions to win.
This wasn’t always the case.
When he was a young man, he started a company from his basement apartment — so small that all of the walls could see each other. He worked hard, he took risks, and he made out pretty good. He was important, needed, and always made sure he was on the cusp of the next big thing.
A handful of years ago now, the board of his company voted him out for someone younger, someone who could take the company to the next big thing, someone who was important.
His day was done. He was no longer needed.
It was a tough pill to swallow.
The summit of his achievements felt like nothing but loss to him. He lost his company, he lost his purpose, he lost himself.
This is not a sad story.
After a time, the man began placing his Superbowl XVII hat lazily upon his grey, unwashed hair and getting out of the house, filled with takeout containers and an air of despair. He had nowhere to go, so he simply walked.
As he walked, empty to the potential of something to do, he began to wonder who he was now. He was in fact alone, without a position, without a purpose.
People, hurrying frantically as if chased by the items from their agendas, passed him as he walked, slowly meeting a truth more profound and important than the entire catalogue of every todo list ever penned on the surface of our planet.
He saw himself hidden behind the pursuits, the ambitions, and the busyness of his life.
It was hard to explain, difficult to wrap neatly in words.
He was him.
This revelation brought with it a sunshine that had to be hidden from his eyes by the shadow of his Superbowl XVII hat.
He had graduated from the school of life and learned the truth so clichéd but ultimately profound —that he was in fact himself, a human being, not a human doing.
In the long run, we may discover what was always in fact the truth: our doing will only be required for a certain time — no matter how special, intelligent, or famous we’ve been.
Learning this lesson, whether when young or old, opens to us the door to discover and slowly savour the essence of life itself.
He didn’t have any place to be today — no meetings to lead, no people to manage, no competitions to win.
He was himself — inexpressibly more than he had ever been before.
Hi, I’m Michael and this is my daily project where I write about diverse ideas.
This is Dose #98.