Life is interesting. We each only have one at a time, and yet we all know people who waste theirs waiting for it to begin. I certainly have!
When I was growing up, the formula seemed pretty simple. You grow up, learn about life in school, along with things you need to know like math and writing and social studies and history and all that. You go to college because going to college means you get a degree, and nobody gets a good job without a degree. You might get married. You might have kids. You get a succession of better jobs until you are doing more of the things you want to, then finally you start doing what you were really meant to, and when you retire you can relax all day doing the things you always wanted to do but never had time for.
Not only is that model untrue for quite a few people these days, but it’s also a great waste of time! None of us know how long we’ll have. None of us know how successful we’ll be. Isn’t the main point of life making some kind of mark so we’ll be remembered?
Some people make their mark by having kids. Others do it by starting a charity. Others do it by defending their country. Others do it by having a business. Others do it by writing books, or making art, or writing wildly successful blogs. Others teach. Some people do a bit of all of these. Some do none of it but come up with some other interesting thing. Some wait, because life hasn’t really started.
Life started when we took our first breath.
Every day is a chance to live our dream, make our mark, follow our purpose. The key is making small steps. One day, I realized I was writing a bit every day and could put that effort into a book. I wrote a novel and published it several months later. I learned a lot about writing and publishing. The point isn’t that I wrote a novel, the point is that I did it in bits, by consistent effort. I”d thought previously “someday I’ll be a writer.” Since someday never came, I decided to become one.
We don’t have to wait till we “have it all together” to make our mark.
Since I have no idea how long I’ll live, and neither does anyone else, doesn’t it make sense to start shaping our lives how we want them? There’s always some small thing to do, even if we don’t have time, even if we don’t have money. Mindset is the truest key – if you are determined, you will make opportunities for yourself. Focus will allow you to see the little places where you can make your life a bit more like your ideal image of your life.
In the mean time, I’ll keep working on my blog. If I can touch even one or two people, inspire someone, help someone, or make someone think, then I’ll have made a mark.
Wondering where “Gray” features in this? Well, in writing about this subject, I thought also of another poem all about making one’s mark – this snippet of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses: