100 words — actually 95

The following paragraph is an entry for a reader-contributed section in the Sunday Washington Post called “LIFE IS SHORT | Autobiography as Haiku.” The instructions say, “Find a way to give insight into your life in under 100 words.” It’s my favorite part of the paper and I read it religiously every Sunday because the writing is surprisingly good and most people “get it.”

During my senior year at college, my friends provoked each other, half in earnest, half mocking, with the question: “So, what are you going to do for the rest of your life?” The question’s immensity made us laugh uncomfortably at our cloudy career paths. Now 33 years later, I realize that I missed the point completely — it’s a trick question. There is no such thing as “the rest of your life.” There is only now, and if you are going to accomplish anything, it has to be done in small breaths, one after the other.

Well, it’s been four weeks since I submitted it so it must have gotten lost among the hundreds of other entries. The Post just publishes two a week. So I am going to post it here. When I get a seed of wisdom, I have to share it — because it so rare.