What does it mean to not matter?1 To have lived your whole life and not count? In the pantheon of your field, your world, your culture—to be as if you did not exist. No contribution, no worth? Nothing notable at all.

I am deathly afraid of it. Of not mattering. I suspect a few within the sound of my voice share the same fear. One can perhaps take solace in the knowledge that you have been a good spouse, a good lover, a good parent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, friend, or person. Yes. But these things are, perhaps debatably, more about who you are than what you do; things we aspire to be, not what we aspire to do. These are what's expected, not so much what's accomplished. And while they are fulfilling and certainly worth cherishing, the truth of...

You do not currently have access to this content.