This long week ended so quickly. I got so much done, but I sit and count up things I have yet to do. Lately I'm doing all sorts of stray bits of self-assessment. I went from a client meeting to the doctor's office today, taking a customary wrong turn and driving in south Dallas, past well-worn frame homes in which people live. I always feel that I'm wandering among other lives. This makes me think about my own. In so many ways, this year went as well as can be expected, but I see challenges and goals scattered before me like so many tinkertoys, waiting to be linked. I think the key, though, is to avoid a kind of personal imperialism. It's so easy to see oneself as a success or failure depending on the ribbons one has achieved--did I publish? did I win a big verdict? Did I stand out in some way? I respect striving, and I do not denigrate success. But it's not about building the biggest dragon's hoard of victory cups and commemorative plates.
I ran my age through an actuarial estimator which applies a life expectancy table. If I am the typical 44 year old man, I have 35 years on average to live (I initially autonomously typed "win"). That means I am on the downhill slope. I'll resist the metaphoric snowboard and the name Sonny Bono in my metaphor. I'll remember, though, that it's not what I do, but who I am. Who am I, really? Why, who I am, of course. But that's what I must remember in 2004. I wish to be who I am.