Let me tell you a story- Colin Singleton, is a prodigy, who keeps dating girls with the same name(Katherine) over and over again, also, keeps getting dumped by them over and over again. Like a lot of prodigies and highly intellectual people everywhere around the world, he loves creating patterns and connecting dots between random stuff. He loves it so much, that he unknowingly creates an epic pattern of failing every romantic relationship he gets in. Colin fears two things in his life- 1. No Katherine will ever like him and he will keep continuing being a dumpee. 2. He will never matter to anything and will never be a genius (FYI: being a prodigy is different than being a genius). Colin’s fears sound very familiar. Ah, wait! Those are exactly the things I am afraid of. Colin once asks his best friend, “How do you stop being terrified of getting left behind and ending up by yourself forever and not meaning anything to the world?” Good question Colin, I’ve been wondering that let’s see, from the beginning of my time.
Colin needs answers, and now so do we. He sets himself to kill two birds with a single stone- coming up with a mathematical theorem, which will predict the future of any relationship, which in return will prove that he is a genius and that he matters. But it’s never that simple, is it? After a whirlwind of summer vacation, Colin has multiple epiphanies:
How you matter is defined by the things that matter to you. You matter as much as the things that matter to you.
You can make a Theorem that explains why you won or lost past poker hands, but you can never make one to predict future poker hands. The past is a logical story. Its the sense of what happened. But since it is not yet remembered, the future need not make any fugging sense at all. In that moment, the future- containable by any Theorem mathematical or otherwise – stretched out before Colin: infinite and unknowable and beautiful.
And if the future is forever, then eventually it will swallow us all up. In another 2400 years, even Socrates, the most well known genius of that century, might be forgotten. The future will erase everything- there’s no level of fame or genius that allows you to transcend oblivion.
I guess he is more than right. I, in no way, will matter or be remembered once I am dead after few decades. So why care so much? Why tiptoe around life for some stupid rules some dead-soon-to-be-forgotten people set to measure our success. We can choose whoever we want to be and if that doesn’t make us anymore unique than we already are, who cares! At least we’ll be happy with actually living our lives trying to do things that matter to us. We may not live forever, but our stories will! And, as John Green says in the book, “Maybe life is not about accomplishing some bullshit markers“.
From the book- An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.