There but for the grace of … me …

It seems T-shirt creating, dancing in underwear, and other “award” related duties must take a backseat for the moment, whilst I spout out some more thoughts from the depths, inspired by the events of recent days, a conversation or two, and of course some recent posts by my blogging family.

Wow. Was that a sentence or what?

And a precursor to my thoughts maybe.

One thing that most humans have in common, whatever their background, is the desire to be acknowledged. We want to make our imprint on the world. To be remembered. To leave a legacy that points to us. Few do not have this desire to some degree. I would dare say none do, but that is a sweeping comment that I can not truly believe. Where we differ is in how we do it, and the level of success we achieve in this desire.

Some do it by seeking celebrity. Or power. Some by excelling in a specific area. For some it is with the use of words, or art. Some by behaving outrageously. Some by behaving righteously. Some chose to be quieter about it, showing their legacy in the results of their actions and knowing that they live on that way. But most share the common driving force: I want to make a difference; I want my life to have mattered.

The bright light on the horizon or hidden in the shadows?

Two specific individuals stand out in my mind right now. Because in a way they represent the opposite extremes of both this desire, and it possible effects. On the one hand we have the news of the moment. Steve Jobs. Few will disagree that he has changed the world as we know it, directly and indirectly touching billions of people. He is leaving a legacy of scientific advancement that has truly altered the path of human growth. Yet in my mind this is not his true legacy. In the now very famous quote that has spread throughout the world (often on his technology), he expressed some fundamental wisdom. His ideas are not original, even if eloquently spoken. I have said much the same throughout my blog, before I knew this quote existed, and I lay no claim to special wisdom. Just an active brain. But the words as he spoke them gained strength because he truly believed them, and lived his life by the philosophy they expressed. He proved that we can truly control our own destiny; that we can achieve whatever we set our mind to, even if others say it cannot (or should not) be done. His name will be one that will be remembered for a very long time. He truly left his mark.

On the other hand we have a seeming unknown. A person who so desperately wants that recognition that he spouts vitriol at any target that he can, and relishes the attention he gets, even if it is negative. After all being hated is far better than not existing at all.  For whatever reason, he thinks that leaving scars is his best chance at a legacy. A mark of a different sort. The sad thing is that in his case, it is liable to backfire, as people determinedly turn their backs on him, intentionally ignoring the mark he is trying to leave, until he fades into obscurity.

I look at my own life, and wonder where I fall between these two extremes. And I recognize the choices that I have made that could have pushed me either way. Will I be remembered as one who has changed the world around him? Or will I slide into an unnoticed obscurity, just another soul who failed to make an imprint?

What will be your legacy? Only you can decide!