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On Being an Existentialist

North Star Circa RMNP by Jasen Miller

Some days I’m profoundly aware of the fact that I’m an existentialist. This is one of those days.

I’ve always had to look for the deeper meaning of things. I’m driven by the possibility that what I do makes a difference, that people or things are changed because of something I did. I need to know that what I do has an impact.

Some people have children, and through them they have an inherent legacy that will live on. I have no intention of procreating, so I’m left with the possibility that I will not know what my legacy is because we don’t always know when we make a difference.

In my professional life, I have to change jobs when it stops being meaningful. When I go too long without thinking, “This is why I do what I do,” it’s time for me to move on. Before law school, I was a mental health therapist. There were days when I knew what I did mattered and other days where I felt like I was paid conversation. There have been instances where I’ve run into my past client since leaving the profession where they thanked me for the work I did when I thought I wasn’t doing anything.

My friend told me I should have outgrown this mind set when I finished college, and I’m sure it would make certain things easier. I accept that I am what I am and that it comes with the constant questioning and searching for meaning.

Rosie!

I’m not sure what brought on this self-reflection. Maybe it’s because a friend recently had a major heart attack or the fact that the anniversary of another friend’s death just passed. Both of these people were young and vibrant when they encountered unexpected medical emergencies, and one didn’t survive. Danielle Zeder reminded us at Ignite Phoenix #12 that the only guarantees in life are birth and death. We don’t know how much time we have in between and it’s important that we use that time well.

I feel lucky that I’m crafting the life I’ve always wanted. I have my own business, a basset hound who adores me, a singing voice that’s comparable to the angels, and a host of people in my life that I love and who love me. Sometimes I worry that I’m not doing enough to create my legacy, but then I have to step back and remember that that story will be someone else’s to tell. My job is in the here and now.

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