As I write this piece, I am grateful to celebrate another year. As I get older, I appreciate each of my birthdays more and more. What I know for sure is that life is not promised. People from the generation before mine are passing away and my generation is now slowly becoming the “elders.” Not only are family members passing away, but also several of my friends, along with people I grew up with and those that have become part of my community over the years. In the wake of this reality, we realize that right now is the only time we have to make our mark and do the things that matter most.
I’ve often heard speakers and preachers talk about making “the dash” between the day we are born and the day we die mean something. I used to think talking about death was so morbid, but in reality they were giving us a wake up call. If we don’t live our lives with purpose, we will look up one day and realize that we’ve wasted most of our lives away. The good news is that no matter when we wake up and come to our senses, it’s never too late. As long as we have breath in our bodies, we have a chance to do good things and make a difference.
Since I was a little girl, I’ve been writing out weekly and daily lists of what I plan to accomplish. I’m not sure where I got this from, but I feel more orderly and accomplished when I can see what I want or need to do and then cross it off my list as I complete it. It’s become my routine. On Sundays after church I sit down at my computer to see what I didn’t complete from the week before and transfer that to the week ahead. Then I look in my calendar to review my appointments for the week and I write out my new to do list. I also try and think about people in my life that have special days coming up such as birthdays or anniversaries and I drop them a card or give them a call. Lists are just one of the tools I use to make sure I am remembering the things that are important and get them accomplished.
There is a quote by Abraham Lincoln that says, “In the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” That really speaks to my spirit. I’m sure many of us can think of people that have lived a long life in years, but when you look at what they’ve accomplished there’s not much to show. On the other side of the coin, we know people whose lives were cut short, but their impact on the world (or at least on our lives) was great. As we get older, we have a responsibility to those coming behind us to teach them the importance of making their lives count no matter what stage they may be in currently.
One of the things I love as I get older is how people feel 50 is the new 30 (smile). I am not running from getting older, but I love the fact that people (women especially) are enjoying life longer, understanding that no matter their age they still have time to do amazing things. This year as I turn 58, I celebrate being a grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren, I have a beautiful family, and I work doing things I love while making a difference. I also believe the best is still yet to come. Our “Season of Greatness” is always before us. Remember, as you go through your day, life is not promised. Don’t put off for later what you can accomplish today. Your legacy is up to you.
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