Do you ever wonder about the impact you’re having on the world?
In 10 years I will reach the age my mother was when she passed away and, as anyone who has lost a parent prematurely will know, it’s a milestone we can’t take lightly.
Realising this lately reminded me I may never get around to all those lofty goals I have planned for my life, particularly if I don’t begin work on them sometime soon.
If I knew I only had 10 years, what would I change?
This question can put a lot of things into perspective.
The truth is we overestimate what we can do in a year while wildly underestimating what we can achieve in a decade, or even a lifetime.
It’s been many years but I clearly remember this about my mother’s funeral: The number of people that swelled the aisles of our local church to pay their respects. In my mind’s eye I can still see all those people standing at the back of the church. Hundreds queued to shake our hands in sympathy that day, many of whom I’d never laid eyes on before.
I was still young enough to be shocked that my mother had this other life I knew so little about. As a nurse at the local hospital she had cared for the elderly relatives of many people in our town. One after another they spoke of her kindness and warmth. It was deeply comforting and I was struck by the massive impact she’d had through her work in our community.
As I edge ever closer to the age she was when she died, I find myself thinking of her legacy more and more.
A decade is a long enough timespan to do something worthwhile. The tendency is to be hard on yourself and wonder what the hell you’ve been doing up to now. I mean I’m 46 already and while I’ve made a start, I have yet to make the kind of contribution that I aspire to.
In calmer moments, I get over it by reminding myself that while I still, God willing, have time to do many good things in this world, I should take my cue from my mam, who even in death was still teaching me about the important things in life.
If you want to make a difference, by all means dream big, but don’t forget it’s who you are that will be remembered in the end.
What do you want your legacy to be?