Promises Promises

My dear friend over at this place has been talking about legacies. In all honesty, I left behind the idea that Natan needed a legacy years (!) ago. I have found given my disappointments in life that I need to accept my insignificance to function. I know that is contrary to so much of what we say so often, but it works. I grew up an overachiever, thinking I could and would, save the world. I had determined, in this modern-day culture of fame worship, that when Emerson was talking about “Representative Men,” he was talking about me.

Forget that. I am one little soul, and Natan was one littler one. He died before he had the chance to live, and I have no idea where he went from there, other than to the ground. He matters certainly, but it’s beyond me to determine how and why. I’m done trying, because that, I think, would leave me stagnant. I won’t ever be satisfied; I can’t make a grand enough legacy for my dead son to satisfy me. That doesn’t mean I don’t think of him, that his death hasn’t left me more humble and compassionate, that I won’t contribute to causes.

His death has left me discontent, but I’m moving forward. I miss him, but not all the time. I’m human and most of the time I’m thinking about that–working, sleeping, eating, playing, writing, talking, drinking coffee, and so on. It’s okay, it really is.


4 responses to “Promises Promises

  1. Discontent is the word that struck me here. It’s like a dog-eared corner of a page in a book. It’s there, your finger may absently try to smooth the crease, but it stays. Sometimes you get caught up in the story, carried away to a wonderful place, or just enjoying a well-turned phrase, but when you put the book down, the crease is still there.

    Sorry for the crappy prose. Bad metaphors seem to abound for me today.

    Discontent fits. It’s not that everything is bad, just that there’s this one thing, or two, that rankle.

  2. Great post. I get the discontent thing. Good word, I haven’t figured out yet how to exactly describe the stage I am at now, but discontent may be it.

    Congrats to your hubby on new job.

  3. Well, certainly that is true about the students. I guess i always thought that those passionate, interested students must exist, but they all go to Harvard and MIT, right? So i was never surprised to encounter so few of them. The attitude of entitlement is very annoying though — there was SO much of that where i did my grad work (‘collegetown, small southern town’) that it almost drove me out of academia & into industry. I would’ve surely taken an industry job, if that postdoc overseas hadn’t appeared. So yes, you may certainly find yourself teaching students who are less irritating and more serious at another institution. Here, most of them just do want to get through, but most of them are paying their own way — so that makes a huge difference in attitude, overall. You always have a few whiners no matter what…but when every student cops an attitude over ever single thing, man, it’s like being pecked to death by ducks.

    Re the other stuff — i still haven’t figured that out. Unfortunately i suspect i never will, and i think it is a large part of the depressions that i struggle with. Sigh.

  4. Thanks all. You know what’s funny Kate? I *thought* it existed where I went to grad school. I had no idea. They were slightly less enthusiastic than my friends in college (who were from those fabled schools you mentioned and their allies), and that annoyed me, but I could’ve made a happy career among them. I loved 80% of the students with whom I worked. I do often feel here like I’m being pecked by ducks. Good analogy. I keep having dreams, too, where I’m attacked by spiders and snakes.

    CLC, thanks for the congratulations. That at least feels like the universe has stopped with the F U’s for the moment. 🙂

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