“In truth, we’re all just pottering, filling the time that we have here, only we like to make ourselves feel bigger by compiling lists of importance.” – Cecelia Ahern – ‘Thanks for the Memories’
One of the things I love about reading fiction is the way a phrase can jump out at you with heart-stopping clarity. And by the time you’ve drawn your next breath, you find that your life is on an entirely new path from the one it was on mere moments before.
Which is the reaction I had to the quote above, from what is, essentially, a bit of light reading.
Just pottering. For fifty or ninety years, we are on this earth just to potter. But we attach such importance to those things that we do. We believe they matter so much, that we have to do them or somehow, some way, we will be guilty of waste. Waste of our time, or our talents, or the opportunity to Get Ahead?
Ahead, where, I wonder. It reminds me of those people who race past you in traffic, trying to Get Ahead. Only to be there, waiting and fuming, as you pull up at the next red light. The only real Ahead there is in life is death. And who wants to be in a hurry to get there? Better isn’t it, to accept the fact that we’re just pottering? To not take ourselves so seriously? To relax and enjoy whatever it is we decide to do to fill our essentially empty days? And try not to let our pottering put too many demands on our planet and all the other creatures who reside here with us?
We think we’re so important. We think we have to Make a Difference. But the fact is, most of the people who live on this earth, who have lived on this earth since time began, haven’t made any difference to it at all. They’ve come, they’ve gone and once their friends and family are gone, too, they are entirely unremembered.
Which is, I think, as it should be. We are just tiny pieces in a much bigger work. Yet we keep trying to be the work itself.
Making a difference is exhausting. And it’s so easy to make the wrong kind of difference. Maybe it’s time to accept the fact. Whether shop clerk or head of a multi-national corporation, whether humanitarian or lowly blogger, we are all, all of us, just pottering.
What do you think? Make yourself a cup of tea and let me know.