With two deaths of people I knew in the past two months, and a building anxiety and doubt about public versus private, I’m trying as best I can not to slide down into that familiar ditch.
Death always gives me pause. After I got news of the second death, I felt a reinforcement of my view that what matters most of all to me in my life is my interaction with others. And what I will always seek out is a good interaction with others, and push every other kind out and away from me. You can’t take any of your accolades and worldly triumphs with you, so why run after them, why tout them, why take them seriously in any way? At the end of the day, being held close, holding those who matter to me close – this is what counts in my life. This is what I will spend time on. This is what I will value. The kind of affection and care given instinctively and freely, without rules, without ulterior motives, without even the expectation that it will come back to you – no payback. Just caring for caring’s sake, when the opportunity presents itself, and the person in question merits it – in other words, the person is someone who you know feels the same way as you do about this kind of interaction and relating counting in life. Without that base, that give and take, to me, there is no hope, no reason to exist – you might as well have been left out on the hill at the mercy of the elements, a newborn with no real start.
Then, I wonder about my work. I feel the need to share it, but for the kinds of connections that mean the most to me coming from the experience of it. My work comes implicit with a number of questions to others, “do you feel this? have you felt this? do you think about this? can we relate on this?” An ensuing dialogue, a feeling of relating, the people who I could potentially talk to about things that a work can bring to mind. I don’t put my work out there for my vanity, to achieve status, to reassure myself that I’m “good.” Who cares about that? What difference does that make, when none of that stays with me when I leave the world? What matters to me is the now. If I share, I can connect to many other people outside of my inner circle, people who will enrich my life even more. Those deep connections are what satisfy me, even if they are few – they are precious to me. And there is always another person, who I don’t know yet, who I can have this kind of meaningful dialogue with. My experience of sharing my work reinforces that belief.
There is no time to waste, there is much to learn and wonder about together, many opportunities to support one another, and to remember one another, our character and conversations together, when each of our journeys here comes to an end, one by one.