“100 years from now? All new people.” – Anne Lamont
The above quote is a useful and humorous reminder that we are all here for just a little while and contrary to how things may seem at times we are all imminently and inescapably replaceable.
Movies provide an interesting demonstration of this notion. An almost magical facet of movies is their ability to capture and preserve a moment in time. Through movies we see glimpses of what life was like in other eras while the actors within these movies stay the same. We get to enjoy such greats as Cary Grant, Betty Davis, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Orson Welles, Ingrid Bergman, Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Hepburn and many others in their prime as long as the movies they appear in continue to exist. Of course off screen all of the actors I named have fulfilled Anne Lamont’s 100-year rule and are no longer with us.
Closer to home my folks are getting older and are doing very well. However they are at an age where their health concerns and those of their cohorts are getting more serious.
I talked with my Dad about the recent loss of some of his friends and colleagues. My Dad sad that he was of course saddened by their passing, but that he had learned something valuable from them which was strangely comforting to him as he thinks about his own mortality. The lesson he learned is best summarized by the statement, “Life goes on”.
While he misses these individuals and other friends and family members who are no longer with him, he also continues to notice that the sun keeps rising, the seasons keep changing, and his grandchildren keep growing. He realizes that this will be true after he is gone too. Rather than finding this alarming he is reassured by it and I think I understand why.
Perhaps when you recognize “Life goes on” then you also realize that the weight of the world does not rest solely on your shoulders. You don’t have to fix everything. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do your part, it just means that it takes multiple people and multiple lifespans to keep things moving and we are all in this together.
What I find comforting about Lamont’s quote is that whatever problems seem huge and/or insurmountable today probably aren’t if your frame of reference is 100 years. If you had a bad day at school, or the office, or at home, there is time to turn things around and move on, and if all else fails even our most stubborn problems will cease to exist at some point and usually much sooner than 100 years. This almost makes you want to break into song, oh I don’t know something like, “Ob-la-di Ob-la da life goes on, brah/La la how the life goes on!” – (The Beatles).