Tag Archive | "personal accomplishment"

In Memory of Me

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We measure our lives in years, with calendar changes, birthdays, holidays, and other events functioning as milestones along our route from birth to death.  From day to day, life seems as if it may last forever.  Most of us, while in good health, give little thought to the fact that our lives will surely end.  And, that is the way that it should be, because those who dwell on their ultimate demise can never truly enjoy the gift that is life.


At certain times during life, however, it is appropriate to reflect on what has transpired during your days on this planet and what your life has meant to both yourself and others.  When I consider my own life, I think that I surely could have done and accomplished more.  My grandparents migrated from a different part of the world and established roots and raised families here, taking advantage of the freedom and opportunity synonymous with America.  My father and countless others of his generation answered the call to help defend our country and the world from the oppression of totalitarianism.


Thinking of others whom I personally know or with whose lives I have some knowledge or familiarity, I witness great accomplishment in science, technology, medicine, law, government, and a variety of other endeavors.  Considering the giants of history of whom I am aware, I envision men and women who took decisive action that contributed to shaping the world as we know it.  Surely, my own life pales in comparison.


Of course, history and our knowledge of other people in general have, as a component, a certain degree of fantasy or mythology.  The film version of one’s life can never capture all of the nuances that characterize the individual.  And, when one considers the life of another, one focuses on the defining moments in that life, not the multitude of personality traits, attitudes, demeanors, and the numerous other little things that, when viewed collectively, can alter one’s perception of another.  Additionally, people are defined by the times in which they live and the challenges they face.  Powerful adversity spurs people to greatness who, absent such challenge, would live lives of total anonymity.


Nonetheless, in viewing my own life, I must conclude that I have not been a good steward of my God-given talents.  And, I believe that most others who thoughtfully ponder their own lives and abilities may arrive at the same conclusion.  It is human nature to follow “the path of least resistance” and that path assuredly does not provide the impetus required to stir most of us from the state of lethargy in which we habitually reside.


William Shakespeare wrote “some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”  With due respect to Shakespeare, I do not believe that anyone is “great” simply by virtue of birth.  I do believe that, when challenged, most of us have within ourselves the resources to respond, if only we have the courage to summon and utilize them.  Without significant external motivation, however, it is up to each of us to manifest whatever “greatness” lies within us.  This has been both the challenge and difficulty that I and an entire generation of Americans pampered by abundance and relative peace and stability in the world have faced.


But, I and others like me still have time.  To various ancient Roman sources has been attributed the saying “Where there’s life there’s hope.”  Accomplishment and opportunities to use one’s talents are not exclusive to any particular stage of life.  Challenges and decisive moments in time are presented each day anew.


Our choices and actions in those yet to be defined moments may redefine us for ourselves as well as those who both have and will come to know and remember us, forever altering our own and others’ perceptions of our unique life stories.

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