It’s a day late, but better late than never.
And actually, I didn’t even have anything drafted yesterday. In addition to just having a busy day, I wasn’t feeling all that jazzed about what I’ve been feeling thankful for these past few days.
Then I read this list of life goals. Seem really straight-forward and almost inspirational. Until (at least in my opinion) you get to the third goal, and that’s where I got frustrated.
This is the part that did me in: “Never attach yourself to objects or people, rather attach yourself to ambitions and values. Attach yourself to the intangibles and you will live forever. Your impact will be remembered forever. You will have left a legacy. You will have mattered.”
It could be that I’m misconstruing it (since a value could be really admirable), but I’m pretty sure that’s the exact opposite of what I’m trying to accomplish in my life. If I never have a building or status dedicated to me for my work in social service/research or people don’t write about me in books so that I’m remembered forever or have a legacy, it wouldn’t phase me one bit.
I can understand not attaching yourself to objects, but people? If I only focused on my ambitions and values I would lead an incredibly unhappy life, except for the few ambitions/values I have that connect me to other people — like life coaching and family (and again, it could be that I’m misunderstanding the goal).
What was I thankful for yesterday, and really all this week? Kindness and encouragement from other people. The little acts that go a long way. Like that link mentioned, sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, and it’s reassuring to know that there are other people, whether they’re strangers or people you connect with on a daily basis, that unselfishly give you a boost.
In no particular order, this is what made the difference in my week:
- The lady out walking her dog who gave me a thumbs up and yelled “you go girl!” while I was doing my 5K training earlier this week.
- An old friend who sent me a link to a really great article out of the blue and saying she was thinking about me.
- My boss reminding me that I’m going to make a great life coach some day.
- Getting an email from the volunteer coordinator saying my adopted grandmother gives rave reviews about me.
These things may seem insignificant, but they really can go a long way. At least they did for me. And conversely, the things that I was getting encouragement and support for (volunteering, training for a 5K) aren’t things that would ever leave a legacy for me. But I’m completely fine with that.
Essentially, the premise of what I was going to write about yesterday goes back to the Maya Angelou quote that “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I’m thankful for the people who make me feel better when my attitude is less than stellar, who can effortlessly get me back to being the positive optimist that I am 90 percent of the time. From professors to friends to colleagues, I can rarely pinpoint specific conversations or actions, but I never forget the important impact a range of people have had on my life. That’s what matters to me, and it’s something I’ll always be thankful for throughout my life.
And now I’m also thankful that I don’t feel like I have to go down in history to have mattered. Just being attached to people and making a small difference in the world is good enough for me.