Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mortality and Mattering

I read yesterday that the great Sheldon Brown passed away last weekend. As I was reading the comments of people on bikeforums, I kept thinking, "Wow, this is a man who really left his mark on the world." I've also been thinking of my grandparents - 3 still living and nearing 90 years old, who are beginning the process of wrapping up their lives. They too, have left their mark, each in a different way.

But the thing I see in common among these four people, is that when you devote yourself to something you're passionate about, and share that passion with others - whether through your writing, music, art, knowledge, or simple caring and conversation - you leave a substantial mark on the world that will last long after you're gone.

It makes me want to really search my soul for what I can contribute. To stop chasing after all the things I could do, but only by faking it. In ten years, will I have produced anything real? Or will I have nothing but a half-hearted pile of "good enough" garbage?

Leaving your mark on the world doesn't require fame. It only requires you to be honest with yourself, and then reaching out, and giving what you can to those you touch.