“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”
– Leo F. Buscaglia
How many times in our lives do we start over?
A life altering event
A new job
A new home
It seems we need life to guide us into a state of change or motivation instead of letting our emotions, passions and glimpse of irrationality lead us to the true happiness we seek.
How many of us can wake up each morning, look at the life we have chosen and say we are truly happy. I sense many are comfortable with a family, financial stability, routine, security and very limited risk. Is this a safe harbor or true happiness? Yes, of course it is safe, but not where you saw yourself when you were ten years old thinking about the future.
As a child, you are at the peak of imagination and with clarity and vision, you dream the impossible and somewhere along the line life hits you over the head and puts you in a box. When were you planning on breaking those four walls and racing for those dreams?
For most, never. Unfortunately, retirement may be the day you open your eyes and look back and what you could have done and thus a sense of self imposed sorrow runs through your body. For others, there needs to be an event, a moment, a seemingly global tragedy to awaken the senses.
Take a few minutes with a sheet of paper and pen and write down all the things you thought about being as you started growing up.
Here is my list:
Astronaut – The unparalleled feeling of being thrust through the atmosphere to the great abyss and for a few days experiencing absolute freedom while still being paralyzed by the fear of the great abyss.
NBA Basketball Player – I had a great jump shot and I was quick. Not as quick to my right but unfortunately genes did not bless me with a 6’8″ stature. I was given the opportunity to coach 10 and 12 year old girls and boys for a number of years and to this day I am still friends with a few and I am thankful for that.
Actor – Not just an actor but I wanted the whole package; worldwide stardom. Then again with the rise of MTV, I was OK with rock star. I can’t sing and acting, maybe a little community theater. I can’t even fake sing. If there was a Halloween costume for an anti-singer, I could pull it off with my voice alone.
Cowboy – I grew up in Anywhere USA quiet suburban land. It was the American Dream….In the 1950’s. My town had one major newsworthy crime in about 30 years. After a report on Wyoming and a stint of horseback riding in Pennsylvania, I knew. I was meant for the open trail. The dust in my face and the sun being my guide. What a thought. I’m not quite John Wayne so for now, I have to stick with True Grit.
Lawyer – I thought I could change the world. I interned for a Superior Court Judge and the thrill I got each morning, doing case summaries and research knowing I was taking part in justice. I knew that decisions I made would help the judge balance fairness for all that walked into her courtroom. I witnessed domestic violence cases, theft, deception and hatred and realized the courts couldn’t correct the system. Only people can look in the mirror and take responsibility for their actions.
History Teacher – I don’t know about you, but seeing the glimmer in a students eyes; you know the one that expresses them deep in thought and truly engaged in the education process it is priceless. We as humans are a sponge with the capability of continuous learning. Every day is a chance at educational growth and knowledge expressiveness. We are blessed with the give of intelligence. It is a sexy gift we should all strive to never give up. At the end of the day, I could transfer some of my expertise to a group that wants to absorb and further educate others. It is noble, fulfilling, warm and accomplished. It doesn’t pay well and it can wear you out faster than it can help you grow. Another dream by the waste side.
Writer – Writing is therapy. Some see it as a gift, a birth rite, a sign from the heavens. Writing is the true expression of all emotion bottled up and then released in an explosion of color and emotion. It is the novelists, historians, poets, musicians and journalists that not only record history, but help us understand ourselves. Writers help you see what you are afraid to see. Writers bring out a surge in your senses that are hidden away. Writers have a duty to themselves and their readers. They take your hand and guide you to another place. Maybe a fantasy land or a personal memory but they open the door to the imagination of everything. Wait, I suppose I am a writer. But am I an unconditional committed writer??
All of us have a lifetime to create a legacy. Unfortunately, aside from a website that tells you when you will die, we do not know our expiration date. Now is the time.
What makes a legacy? Hmmmm
1. Live each day of your life with purpose and never stop dreaming. Live each day with happiness, sadness, love, respect, and admiration for your chance to not only live a complete day but to see another sunrise.
2. Love your family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, animals and strangers. We are all part of the this miraculous circle of life. We share this planet and though there are some rules and regulations, it is the freedom to take risk and find personal greatness that will write the final chapter of your legacy.
3. Teach the next generation to release the chains of society and lead your own path.
4. Challenge yourself. When you feel the odds are overwhelming or the obstacles too large to overcome, challenge your senses and let your dreams become a reality.
Don’t wait for a recession, an attack, a tragic crime or the safety of a picket fence to hold you back. This is not applicable to all. Many of us are so complete right now and it is a feeling of wonder. If you are on a path of robotic melancholy with a destination already determined; stop walking. You have the chance to turn around and start a new journey.