We all leave a mark no matter if we’re famous or not, but the marks that are left on history are personal things that many of us never seem to acknowledge and go by the wayside when we fail to recognize them. The examples we’re given in life aren’t always the greatest, but in some cases they’re the best we can get. And then sometimes they’re the examples we want to live up and live up to, but somehow we fall short, or at least think we do.
A person doesn’t have to be a celebrity or a world-renowned individual to be considered great. The parent that teaches you how to be a decent human being, the relative you idolize, the teacher that educates you outside the classroom, and even just the friend that stands at your side. These are examples of greatness we don’t often take note of and yet are the same examples that many of us hope to live up to one day. They are the building blocks of a life that they can only hope will someday become greater than their own, as this is the hope of many an individual that raises and encourages those of the next generation.
I’ve lived around great men and women in my time, and while none of them are known worldwide, and in fact none of them are even remotely famous, they are inspirations in my own life that I know have changed me profoundly throughout my time in this world. Without them I wouldn’t be half the person I am today, so I believe.
Yet I feel now and again that I am failing, that these legacies left behind, that are not mine to claim, are still marks that I cannot hope to match in my time, even if I was given two or more lifetimes in which to do so. I look at my children and wonder if perhaps I am failing them in not living up to the potential that was laid down as a guide for me to follow, and I fear that they will suffer the consequences.
But the smile of a child, the absolute trust that is put into us as parents, and the belief of those same children is enough to break such thoughts like a ray of light bursting through a darkened thundercloud. The moment a child smiles and responds to your presence is validation that you have done something right, and that you are creating your own legacy.
We won’t live up to the legacies that are left behind, that’s simple fact. But we will honor those that came before us by recognizing that the lives we lead are made all the better for those individuals and their part in it. Don’t live for the legacy of another, make your own path and forge ahead to create your own story in this world. The mark you make is your own, and no one else’s. The legacy you create are the memories you leave behind, and the stories that are told long after you are gone.