Of bits and butterfly effects
I've never been so vain as to think I'll have much impact on the world. I never wanted to be president. I never wanted to be a doctor. I'll almost assuredly never go to war to fight for my freedom and the freedom of others. Way too much responsibility.
Instead, I grew up making virtual things. Apparently, even making physical things was too much. I push bits around as if I'm doing something productive. It's like a reflection of what I see of the grand scheme of things. It's all rather fleeting.
My children are not of my own making. They do not have my genetic material. I was there when they were born and I have continued to shape their lives ever since, nudging them in one direction or another. We are influenced by so many people over the course of our lives. I may have been one of the first but certainly not the last to have an impact on my children.
I have no grand vision of saving the world. I don't expect to be written about in the history books for centuries to come. At some point, we're all forgotten. Most sooner than later.
I recognize that looked at through a certain lens, this can all seem rather bleak. "Why bother?" you might ask. "Do something great," you might say.
Life comes and life goes and that I have but a brief moment in the long chain of time to enjoy that is amazing. That I get to live the life I've led (and hope to continue to lead) is amazing. That I have a modicum of influence on anybody is amazing.
To bastardize BSAF's marketing of yesteryear, "I don't make things, I make things better." I've never considered myself very original. I just try and put the pieces I have together in a slightly different way than before. I show others what I do in hopes of inspiring them to make things a little better.
Every email of thanks that I have received, the collective of virtual bits, has been an affirmation of that. Having someone tell me how one thing that I did has influenced their life for the better is deeply gratifying. It's a confirmation that I have indeed nudged the universe—even if just in some small, tiny way.
And so I'll go on pushing my bits around. Each bit I change has an opportunity to nudge someone else to change, hopefully for the better.