Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and try to truthfully answer the age-old question, who am I?
I’m going to take a guess here and say your first thoughts were a combination of one-word nouns consisting of your profession or hobbies.
Then you probably thought of something to describe your stance as a friend or family member, followed by descriptors including your age, gender, ethnicity or other identifiers you might use when filling out forms at the doctor’s office.
I did the same thing, and it just seems so… unfulfilling. I want to be more than an American 20-year-old college student, daughter, runner, cook, friend and writer.
The more I thought about it, the words from the most recent tear-jerking sappy love story, "The Fault in Our Stars," began to echo in my head.
Now don’t hit me with an eye roll at the mention of this current omnipresent topic of conversation; you have to admit Augustus Waters did make some damn good points. His biggest fear was oblivion, and I couldn’t agree more.
All too often, we do the things we do with hopes that some day they might mean something or leave an impact. We want to be remembered and we want to be someone. But Hazel (Augustus’ counterpoint in the story) bluntly reminds us that oblivion is inevitable:
There will come a time when all of us are dead. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you.
Ouch. But if that’s true (and I believe it must be), then who are we, really? Just small markers of time? Just insignificant servers of our purpose as mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, teachers, doctors or artists? There has to be more to us than that.
In this world where absolutely nothing is permanent, the only thing we can be sure of is death. That seems to be an ominous truth, a pessimistic one even, but it doesn’t have to be.
If all we have is right now, all we know to be true is this very moment we have before us. Why work so hard trying to leave something behind rather than just enjoy it? My advice: Love deeply, travel everywhere and open your eyes to new experiences.
Living in the moment might be a bit cliché, but how about stop trying to leave "something" behind and instead just leave all of who you are. Whatever you have to give, that's who you really are and you have so much to offer.
My idea for success in life is measured in smiles. I believe the more laugh lines that find their way onto your face as you age, the more successfully you’ve lived.
Certainly Augustus was not alone in fearing oblivion, but if that is an inevitable truth of life, the only one we can be 100 percent sure about is why not give it everything we’ve got?
So, who are you? You might still be figuring it out, but be sure to pour every ounce of that being into living your best life. It’s the only one we’ve got.
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