On 27th March 2013 my grandmother Molly Darwent left our world. At 97 years of age it’s safe to say she had a ‘full innings’ that included raising eight children who in turn brought 14 grandchildren into her world. Then there are the 10 great grandchildren (and one on the way) – we all loved her dearly. We were lucky to have known Granny’s life was coming to an end. While nothing can take away the heartache of saying good-bye we were spared the shock of an unexpected passing.
Over the weeks that we waited for the inevitable call from our family in South Africa my Mum and I spent time reflecting on Granny’s life. Our conversations also turned to other relatives who had gone before her, in some cases many years ago. Sad but true neither of us were able to recall with any certainty the details of my great grandparents lives and certainly not the generations before them. I realized my own children’s grandchildren are unlikely to know much about me. While saddened by this thought I also reflected on the fact that life goes on and only the significant details of our lives are likely to be passed on and remembered.
While being remembered isn’t the most important aspect of life I’m sure many of us want to know we have made a difference – I most certainly do. And while not everything I do needs to be memorable I hope future generations of my family will be proud of what I have done and who I have been. But even if no one remembers me I want to leave this world knowing I have given life my best shot – that I have created opportunities and I have leveraged them, that I have thrived in life, not simply existed.
While I will continue to learn about life throughout the years I have ahead of me, here are a few of the things I have learned and come to believe on my journey so far:
- We choose the life we create – sometimes life throws challenges our way, but we choose how we respond to them and ultimately their impact
- Life is for living and yet too many of us simply exist – some of us plod through each day while others endure existence
- Life is too short to spend time doing jobs and playing roles we don’t enjoy. If you don’t like your job find another one. If you don’t like your chosen career path change it.
- Limiting belief and fear often confine what people do, experience and achieve to within safe boundaries
- Every one of us has something to offer the world – we are blessed with our unique gifts for a reason and we should share them
- Each of us can make a difference to the quality of life of those around us – all we have to do is decide we care and show it
- Our lives can be enriched by learning – we should never stop being a student of life
- We must let people know we care – some people miss that opportunity and regret it for the rest of their lives
- It’s important to stop and ‘smell the roses’ – our hectic pace can mean we miss the opportunity to reflect and appreciate the wonders of life including our own achievements
At the end of the day I believe what matters is that we are remembered for what we do and give, not what we have. Ask yourself whether or not you are creating the life you truly want to live. Will the choices you are making ensure you are content with the life you have lived when your time comes to leave this world? Are there choices you are making now that you will regret when your time is up?
Live life to its fullest and as they say ‘make hey while the sun shines’.