Sometimes during my workday I will reach for an interoffice envelope and pause to read the names inscribed on the lines. Some of the envelopes in our office date back to the 90’s. (We believe in using items to their full potential. Bet you didn’t know an envelope could live so long, eh?)
I like reviewing the names and dates on the envelopes. Having worked in the same place for fifteen years, I’ve seen many come and go. I read the names of people that used to work here, some names of people who are no longer living. It’s a tiny reminder that they were here. Not that these people could ever be forgotten – I have worked with some true characters! But I am always nostalgic over their penned script, even though it is just their name and date written on the paper, a tiny memorial to the fact that I knew them while they shared office space with me. The ink is permanent even if the people aren’t.
I strummed a form today while carefully writing notes in the margins. I wondered right then if anyone would see those notes after I am gone and remember my time here. Probably not on that particular form – insurance applications don’t usually strike reminiscent chords. But those notes will remain, in today’s orange ink, for as long as the papers survive. My ink. The proof that I was here.
And that made me think…what ink do we leave on other people? Our words, our actions, our attitudes…they are not erasable. They are as permanent as a Sharpie marker. What we say and what we do – and how we make other people feel – those are the things that will be remembered long after we are gone. That is our ink. We leave little unseen tattoos on everybody we meet. We are all artists. What does our art say about us?