Nancy Roman

The Advantage Of Being Forgotten

Yesterday I stopped at Barnes and Noble for coffee and quiche – not exactly a nourishing lunch, but I like sitting amongst all those sweet books.

And there was a man there – not old, not young – he could have been 40 or 60 – one of those men who are not timeless, but of no particular era at all. And this man, sitting at the little unfancy cafe was singing. He was not paid entertainment. He was not even a busker, trying to make a few dollars with his voice.

No, he was not even singing well. He was not even carrying a tune. I sort of recognized the some of the words of the song he was singing, but I couldn’t quite even decide what song it was. Just some vaguely familiar words with no particular melody at all.

He was not loud. But the tune (if you could call it that) was more than just mumbling to himself.

He had coffee and a laptop computer on the table. He might have been singing along to a video.

He might have been crazy.


Two weeks ago, I wrote that I was feeling melancholoy.

I was sad thinking about how I might be forgotten after I am dead. That I would leave no mark on the world. I want to be remembered. I want my life to have meaning.

But I’ve had a few weeks now to think about what such insignificance might really mean.

And here is the answer:


If no one will remember me in twenty-five years, or even five years, or perhaps even five minutes now …

then what difference does it make…

If I cry during Hallmark commercials?

If my knees creak in Yoga?

If I’m bored by Star Wars?

If I don’t bother to balance my checkbook?

If I wear the same outfit three days in a row?

If I never read War And Peace?

If I put ketchup on my fish?

If I stop putting up a Christmas tree?

If I spend too much money on makeup?

If I write mediocre poetry?


If I sing in Barnes and Noble?




  1. Paula

    If we’re forgotten, no one will write a tell all book ferreting out “what it all REALLY meant.” No paparazzi will chase us through the streets. I agree … not all bad.


    • Exactly – there is a benefit to being invisible.


  2. Indeed. Many of my weaknesses are what make me unique, and once I’m gone there will be someone else to be unique. So might as well do whatever I want. You too!


    • Right! If no one cares what you do – do what YOU care to do!


    • Wow, I’d never considered that my peculiar weaknesses were I-dentifiers. Now I’m intrigued. –robert

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve listed just those things that don’t matter. What people will remember is how you made them feel. And you make your readers laugh and think. So sing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gabi! I am hoping that some little thing I write – even if it is only 1 sentence – will resonate with someone and be remembered.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jono51

    Of the 7 billion people in the world you are but one. Those whose lives you touched will remember you, the rest will have missed out. Even those who are famous will be forgotten in time so I tend not to be too concerned about a legacy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • If I will have no legacy, then I might as well have fun!

      Liked by 2 people

      • jono51



  5. Pam

    I love this, Nancy! You are so right about no one remembering the stuff you might do. And it does give you freedom! Sweet freedom to do what you want! Believe it or not, I have been thinking about this for the last few months. I’ve thought about how I should do what I want because at this stage of the game, why should I care what others may think? We’re ALL going to live and die. Why should I try to please others? It won’t matter. What they think is none of my business. I have recently started taking clogging classes. We will be dancing at nursing homes and such. It always gets a corny laugh from other people, but I DON’T CARE! It’s MY life! I wish I had realized this earlier. Also, I sang karaoke for the first time last year – something I never thought I would do. This aging thing is not all bad.
    I would sing with you at Barnes and Noble – and dance, too!

    Love your little black dress!


    • Clogging classes! How fun! A dear friend joined a fife and drum corps a few years ago. I think I should take up ballet!


      • Pam

        Ballet, yes! That would be fun, too!


  6. Sometimes I ‘discover’ (i.e., my husband taps me on the shoulder and tells me) that I’m singing out loud to a song playing through my earbuds while I garden (and, like the fellow in Starbucks, I don’t sing very well!) Normally, it doesn’t make any difference (no one can hear me out here in the country) but this week we’ve had a construction crew at the house and I caught them smiling at me a little oddly yesterday and I realized I wasn’t ‘singing in my head’, but out loud. And I thought, ‘Who cares?’ If they think I’m crazy, that’s fine with me! If I don’t wear makeup or change from my ‘lazing around the house’ clothes into my ‘going to the store clothes’ (my mother was very clear on the difference when I was growing up), ‘Who cares?’ If I decide we’re going to eat dessert (strawberry shortcake or banana splits) for dinner, ‘Who cares?’ The only one who should ‘care’ about what I do or how I act is ME! Great post – I now have a nicely formulated list of things I can do without worrying about them! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think strawberry shortcake for breakfast would also be wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mom used to give my boys (and my nieces and nephews) strawberries and ice cream for breakfast (when they were little and we were visiting); she said it was a grandmother’s prerogative! I love that (especially now that I’m a grandmother!)


        • Pam

          Strawberries and ice cream for breakfast! What a great idea for spoiling grandkids! The strawberries are so nutritious that they justify the ice cream. 🙂


          • Mom used to say ‘It’s fruit and a dairy product’!


  7. The house behind us has roofing work going on–the only way anyone can see into our very private backyard, so now I have roofers overseeing my morning yoga, done to Tejano radio. And I don’t care a bit if they think I’m some weird granny hippie. They probably think nothing at all, even better.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Well, I for one, hope that they think you are scandalous!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Nah, probably just boring, if they notice at all.


  9. Christine

    When I find myself worrying about what to wear to some event, I remind myself that almost no one, friends and family included, will notice what I am wearing, and the few that do will forget almost immediately. Instead of being disappointed by this, I find it very relaxing. Even better is realizing that no one will remember how my hair looks


  10. I, too, sing in public without realizing I’m doing it. And I particularly love to hear men sing like that, un-self-consciously. (I can’t figure out how to spell that.) Do you real Elizabeth Gilbert’s stuff? She blogged about the invisibility of women over 50, and I felt like you do– it’s freedom. No one looks at me at the beach so it doesn’t matter what my thighs look like anymore. Sometimes I want to be seen and I am a little sad to not be noticed, but more and more often, I am just grateful for the freedom.

    I read all your posts; they’re like little bites of company. Thank you for continuing to post.


  11. Coffee and quiche sound good to me! You are right to call it freedom! I sometimes think about how quickly we can be forgotten.


  12. Oh, and I finished reading your book, “Just What I Always Wanted,” and enjoyed it very much. Must do a review on Amazon!


  13. Well said. 🙂


  14. So there are at least 2 of us in the world who put ketchup on fish.


    • Pam

      That’s 3 of us, lol!


  15. stallingsy

    I admire your courage in going to Barnes and Nobles. I love going there because people that congregate there are intellectuals. seeking knowledge in reading,listening to music,eating and drinking food. I love the atmosphere it’s of peace. It is sad that we have unstable people targeting social places as a avenue to express their political ideas hurting women,children, men , old and young.


  16. thecitygirlthoughts

    Loved your post. There has been a couple of instances where I’ve been mumbling the lyrics in public to the song blasting from my head phones. There has even been some instances were I am deep in my thoughts and suddenly I remember something really funny and start smiling creepily. I’ve had strangers move away from the seat next to me in the bus because of this. Lol. Oh well.


  17. I like this new theory. Now I will have to think of ways to make a spectacle of myself that no one will remember. Yes! Freedom!


  18. Ooo the upside of impermanence 🙂


  19. Thank you for this, Nancy! 🙂



  1. The Advantage Of Being Forgotten — notquiteold | Aheadguide

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