I also have this incessant need to matter, to be known. I don’t know what it is, probably something that has to do with the culture and society we have grown up in, but I’m always worried my life means nothing. I feel that I have to be well-known or famous in order to do anything that will make a lasting impression. I know that isn’t true, of course, but I have these thoughts nonetheless.
That’s why when I read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, I was encouraged. I love John Green’s writing. When I say: “I think he’s a genius”, I mean it. The metaphors he comes up with, and the topics of his books, are beautiful. He has a real talent, and I admire him for it.
An Abundance of Katherines is about a 17 year old boy named Colin Singleton. Colin is a child prodigy, who has not yet become a genius. As well as not accomplishing the title of “genius” yet, his girlfriend Katherine (of which he has dated 19 girls with the name Katherine, spelled K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E, over the course of his life) breaks up with him. So Colin and his best friend, Hassan, go on a road trip.
Throughout the entire book Colin is struggling with the idea that he’s being left behind, that he’s a washed up child prodigy with no future. He’s struggling with the idea that his life does not matter, while simultaneously trying to get over Katherine 19.
At the end of the book, Colin finally has his Eureka moment. He says all of these things about mattering, and not mattering, and being well-known, and not being well-known. I could type out the entire excerpt for you because I love it so much, but I won’t. I don’t want to ruin anything for those of you who decide to read it, which, by the way, you should. I am just going to include one quote from the book that I absolutely love, and can’t stop thinking about.
“And so we all matter – maybe less than a lot, but always more than none.”
This quote really gave me some comfort. It helped me see that while I’m never going to be well-known, I will be known by some. And what I do matters, who I decide to be matters, my life matters. And so does yours.