Recently, a friend and I were walking the streets of Fells Point when a girl approached us asking where a certain bus stop was. I was clueless since I drive and bike everywhere. I felt bad for not having an answer, it was her first day of high school and she didn’t know how she was going to get home. After googling the charm city bus circulator schedule and still having no idea where anything was, we told her that we could give her a ride and assured her that we were decent people. I can imagine she was hesitant but she let us take her home but thank God she did because she lived on North Avenue… I was not letting that girl walk home alone.
As humans we are put on this planet to give, to fulfill, to encourage others, and to love. Much of the time we get caught up in consuming and being consumed, in what is important and immediate–we get caught up in ourselves in our own world. We seem to forget that our time is limited and that once it’s gone everything we have accumlated is left behind, and relationships are missed rather than enjoyed. Once you wrap your head around that reality suddenly all other ‘things’ become a little less important and immediate, and relationships are valued and preserved.
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.
Questions I began asking myself went something like: What do I want to leave behind? What kind of impact do I want to have? What do I want people to remember about me? These questions helped me gain clarity as to what kind of life I was living. From deep self-evaluation came simple words I have chosen to live by–to do something good for someone else everyday, regardless of it being out of the way, unexpected, or longer than anticipated. It is the small gestures that will make you most memorable and that make life meaningful.
Recognizing that our intentions and actions have become self-focused is great because it allows us to then refocus our energy into the world around us. It’s when we neglect to evaluate ourselves when our existence is nothing more than…existence. I may not effect millions of people in my lifetime, I certainly don’t have plans that big, but if I make a positive impact on a hand full of people then I can say with complete certainty that my life was meaningful and that the purpose of my existence was fulfilled. Knowing that there is purpose behind existence has helped my perspective regarding what is actually important versus what I’m told is important by societal standards and other such influences, and sometimes it is hard to separate these influences from what you truly feel. It takes time, patience and a genuine need for such clarity–but it is definitely worth the effort.