One of the great fears—among a life of great fears, perhaps the last great fear—is the fear of being no longer useful. We find a role in life, and we do that role to the best of our ability for as long as that ability is there. But all of us—even me, dear listeners—will someday hit a point where we no longer are able to do that thing that we define ourselves by doing.
And more than the fear of injury, more than the fear of death—this is the fear that looms: The loss of self. The self that is the self we imagined we were our whole lives.
But we were never that self, not really. We were only a series of selves, living one role and then leaving it for another. And all the time convincing ourselves that there was no change, that we were always the same person living the same life: One arc to a finish, not the stutter-stop improvisation that is our actual lives.
Worry less about the person you once were—or, the person you dream you someday will be. Worry about the person you are now.
Or: Don’t even worry! Just be that person. Be the best version of that person you can be. Be a better version than any of the other versions in any of the many parallel universes.
Check regularly online to see the rankings.”—Cecil is dropping some serious knowledge on the latest episode of “Welcome to Night Vale.”