Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a Legacy

These words appeared in Small Great Things, a novel by Jodi Picoult:

We all do it, you know. distract ourselves from noticing how time’s passing. We throw ourselves into our jobs. We focus on keeping the blight off our tomato plants. We fill up our gas tanks and top off our Metro cards and do the grocery shopping so that the weeks look the same on the surface. And then one day, you turn around, and your baby is a man. One day, you look in the mirror, and see gray hair. One day, you realize there is less of your life left than what you’ve already lived. And you think, How did this happen so fast? It was only yesterday when I was having my first legal drink, when I was diapering him, when I was young.

When this realization hits, you start doing the math. How much time do I have left? How much can I fit into that small space?

Some of us let this realization guide us, I guess. We book trips to Tibet, we learn how to sculpt, we skydive. We try to pretend it’s not almost over.

But some of us just fill up our gas tanks and top off our Metro cards and do the grocery shopping, because if you only see the path that’s right ahead of you, you don’t obsess over when the cliff might drop off.

Some of us never learn.

And some of us learn earlier than others.

As I reflected on those words from the novel, I am reminded again.

We are born, and then a second later we are old.

This is life, how it’s supposed to be, created in a knowledge that far surpasses the most brilliant minds that ever walked the planet.

And we live like we live because we were designed to do so.

But life has a way of pulling you up short with the events that surprise and often shock.

Those words will glide right past most who read them. They are still young. They have all the time in the world. Their lives have just begun.

Life has a way of catching up with your dreams. It has a way of lulling you into thinking what is now will always be.

Why do I think those years left to live, will somehow slow down instead of whizzing by just like the previous ones?

The challenge is to balance the way we live, always thinking that tomorrow will somehow be different if we just keep doing the same things; with seizing the day as if there are so few left to live.

What would you do if you believed that your days are numbered and the number is fewer than you thought?

Make it count?

It’s not about you.

There is a higher purpose than the obvious set before us.

You are leaving a legacy.

What will it be?

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