Things I Won’t Do

Anybody who’s spent much time with me knows I’m neither the kind of guy to take no for an answer nor the kind to say something isn’t possible, rather I am the kind who feels like he can be great at everything and be everything to everyone. It’s a fault but I do well enough most of the time that I can skate by.

Today on the bus ride to work while finishing reading the play “Copenhagen” I came to the sudden realization that I would never make a significant contribution to mathematics. It wasn’t ever something I specifically strove for, nor anything I put any sort of commitment towards, but somewhere in the back of my mind I’m sure I hoped, as I do with an outrageous number of things, to wind up in a position where it would be possible and that by sheer force of character I could make it happen.

Even now, after tossing the thought around all day, I can’t quite bring myself to accept the word never in the paragraph above. It feels like a challenge. Even after deciding that I will not commit myself to the level of study and research it would take, even with the generally held statistic that most great contributions to mathematics happen by the time the contributor is 25, even after accepting the overall lunacy of the idea that I might be in some way qualified, never is still a tough pill to swallow.

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