When we think of Shel Silverstein we think of the The Giving Tree. When we think of Jim Henson we think of The Muppets. But in addition to writing whimsical children’s literature and poetry Silverstein wrote songs for Johnny Cash including “25 Minutes to Go” about a man on death row. And Henson co-authored a number of experimental films about the experiences of the everyman and illusion versus perception.
Silverstein and Henson died too young at the ages of 68 and 53, respectively. Though, most certainly, they had careers richer in experimentation and accomplishments than for what they are most often remembered. They were more than the lovable Uncle Shelby and the voice of Kermit singing “The Rainbow Connection”.
As are you, which you know, though others may not, and you cannot expect they ever will. With the exception of those who come to know you, you are your title – the function of what you do – simmered down to your simplest form. When one of your colleagues is telling a story in which you’re a character you may even lose your name and become simply a unit in the “accounts team” or “marketing”. Your character will lack nuance. The political history of your office which has influenced your attitude and actions will not be considered, and neither will your family of origin or the life events that have taken you up to the current point in time. You’ll be misunderstood.
Let it be of no consequence. People will remember you for what eases the burden or validates their own experience which may or may not be the aspects of your identity you value most.