In the past couple of weeks I have left a job I loved – really loved – but felt I needed to leave for various reasons. I’m fortunate to have moved into a job I think I will love equally well, all early signs being promising, but nonetheless I felt rather emotional saying goodbye to a place I hadn’t expected to leave yet.
But as I gave the fairly standard leaving speech, which was completely genuine and heartfelt but could easily sound familiar, even cliche, and watched people nibble some cake and snacks before heading off, I could easily imagine the same time next week, no one even remembering what it was like when I was there.
And this was a big part of my life. So what is the point of any of it?
I then read a short essay by Bertrand Russell (“How to Grow Old”), in which he says:
If you have wide and keen interests and activities in which you can still be effective, you will have no reason to think about the merely statistical fact if the number of years already lived, still less of the probably shortness of your future…
The best way to overcome [the fear of death] – so at least it seems to me – is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.