Sometimes, it amazes me how little I've been able to accomplish in my 64 years, so far. And that puts things into perspective. I think that if I could live to be 250 or 300 years old, I might be able to get something done and make a real difference for others. But of course, that would depend on medical science giving me its own little boost along the way. Fountain of Youth Researchers out there, get busy. Otherwise, 200 year old philosophers aren't exactly yet known for ongoing beneficial achievements.
Psychologists warn us about comparing ourselves to others. But the real warning should be about comparing our actual life accomplishments, whatever they might be, against the vastness of the possibilities that necessarily elude our grasp. We're always like Sir Isaac Newton, merely playing with a few seashells on the shore while that ocean of potential lies out there, still forever unexplored.
My daughter just did some pumpkin-carving art for Halloween at our house that's really world-class sculpture. I mentioned to her that people should be lining up to pay thousands of dollars for these ephemeral works of art, and she laughed and said that she'd be lucky if more than four people ever see them. I know how she felt. I've written philosophy articles in the technical academic journals like that, hidden away on remote library shelves. But you know, when I reflect on it more, I have to admit that I'm even prepared to write entire books like that. Why not? We do what we do, and we always hope for the best as a result. But the best isn't essentially about changing the world on some grand scale. It could be about delighting one person, or a few. It could be like that mythic little pebble tossed into a huge calm lake and creating its tiny ripples that, at some point unseen, keep going. Whether we toss our small stones out into the lake of life for 30 years, or 90 years, or 300, their ripples may yet go where they are meant to go, and do what they're meant to do, whether we ever see their results, or not. We're never in a good position ourselves to say, at least on this side of the pond.
So I'll draw a conclusion. It's quite Ok to accomplish little things. Even if it may take a lot longer than you think.