The world will be happier because I was in it. At least that’s my plan.
Contemplating your own mortality is not something I’d suggest anyone spend much time doing. But the reality is that life is short, and we would be wise to put some thought into the way we are spending it.
I have a friend who is focusing her energy right now on the crisis with Syrian refugees. She has identified concrete ways that people can get involved and make a difference. She is spreading that word, and she is working to improve the situation for people in great need.
I have another friend who has worked for the military and in the public sector. She has lived in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. Her work has shaped public policy, and she has risked her life for our safety.
I have a friend who is a Superintendent. One who spent time working with the recovery efforts in Haiti and New Orleans. My high school classmates are doctors and lawyers and executives.
I sometimes feel like my impact on the world will be small. Maybe you have felt the same way. History is full of examples of people who have sacrificed and served to make our world better. There are people dedicating their whole lives right now to addressing social injustices. How will the world be different because I was in it?
I’ve spent more time than I should wondering if I have done enough good, wondering if I have taken enough risks to make a real contribution, wondering if I have made any lasting impression. I know some of you wonder the same thing.
We have. Our lives have made a difference. My life has made a difference.
There is the very real contribution that I’ve made in terms of my children. They are smart and compassionate and positive. The world is better because they are in it.
As a teacher, I also feel like I have had the chance to influence others. There are mature, confident, wonderful adults out there with whom I was able to connect when they were students. I’m still in touch with many of them today. The world is better because they are in it.
The world may not know my name, but my life has mattered.
It feels small to say this, but I hope the world will be happier because I was in it. If there is a “legacy” that I’d like to leave, it is happiness.
Happiness is not a buzzword. It is not a fad. It is not shallow. Brightening the day for someone can have an impact on every other person they encounter that day. I want to be the face, the voice, the message that spreads positivity.
I’ve recently become an Optimist. Part of the Optimist Creed is to “look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true”. This doesn’t mean that I don’t see the atrocities in the world. This doesn’t mean that I’ve buried my head in the sand. It means that in the midst of those things, I choose to believe that staying positive is a stronger way to live.
How will the world be different because you were in it?
Just for Fun…a Few of My Favorite Videos about Happiness