On Being Remarkable

Like many people, I’d like to live an interesting and fulfilling life, and while doing so, I’d like to achieve something amazing – something remarkable. I’d like for it my life to be so important that it’ll be noted in history books round the world, so that centuries from now, people will be reading “Troy did this,” and I shall become a household name. But really now, how many of us really make it to such heights of grandeur. Over the course of history only a select few. In fact, it is mind-boggling to consider how many names and people have all simply faded away into hateful darkness, ushered out silently by the passage of time. It’s a sobering thought to know that odds of attaining such brilliant glory are so ineffably slim, it seems pointless.

I think that we are often convinced by our culture here that to be remarkable is to have achieved our best, and it’s natural to equate our notability with the amount of good we’re doing with our lives. However, I don’t think that becoming an icon, to any degree, is really the purpose of life. Consider this: the best version of yourself may ultimately be plain, normal and unexciting in terms of fame and glory. By this I don’t mean to say that you can’t have such renown presence, but that maybe it is literally, and in a real fundamental way, the best thing that you don’t.  It is after all every day people, like you and I that build the world. We make friends, meet people, meet lovers, have children. We teach, we sing, we write, we work, and we play. All of those things are wonderful, and so key to the humanity that we’d mean nothing without it. Great love, a perfection that I cannot emphasize enough is a thoroughly simple thing. To be a brother, a sister, a friend or a parent is to exercise that which is the greatest we can do, and it has nothing to with the world knowing our names. It is in our ordinary lives that we can become truly great, and for some it is their passion for life that led them to be remarkable people – as they should be.

When I think this, I consider that I may never be a remarkable person. But perhaps that isn’t important, and that will never stop me from living the good life. Be kind, love others, be just. I can do that which is always best, even if the world will never know.

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