It dawned on me the other day: I'm getting old. I'm 32. It's not actually that old. But I'm closer to 40 than I am to 20. I saw a collage of pictures of a man who wore the same outfit every year for 30 years or so for his school photo as a teacher. It was fascinating and sad to watch him age. I can't fathom what I'll look like in 32 more years, but I can tell you this: I won't look as good. Not as young. Not as tan. Not as dark-haired and debonair (just joking, I will).
It's funny how much energy, emotional and otherwise, I put into looking a certain way. I want to be in shape, I want to be attractive, I want to be well liked and remembered. Physical, emotional, sometimes lapping over into my spiritual concerns, I want to develop and maintain my image. Almost every decision I make is about myself and how it will best serve me. When I am indecisive, it's not because I think about someone else all that often, it's because I don't know which decision is best for me.
Our looks are fleeting. We are getting older. We are getting slower and fatter and grayer. Our popularity wanes with each new place we land. We want to be famous and liked, but to most people we're only remembered until the next person's flashy Instagram photo pops up in our feed.
We can concentrate on our looks and likability, our success and popularity, but it won't last. And we'll have wasted our time and decisions on things that didn't matter and aren't remembered.
What if we decided to make choices that helped people? That were more influential? That made a difference and were remembered because they mattered? And what if it only mattered to a few people consistently? (I'm sure it's another post for another time, but in our obsession to be parts of "movements" we have lost sight of the impact of deep relationship. We want to effect mass change instead of transformation that can only happen through time and consistency and patience and love. It's easy to retweet something against human trafficking; it's harder to keep giving and investing in the person who keeps asking and taking without a thank you.) What if we took other people into account when we made decisions? What if more money didn't mean we get to buy more stuff but instead, we get to help someone in need buy something at all?
Looks, fame, money, us. We're all fleeting. What is worthwhile? What will define us?