Recently I engaged in one of those deep heart to heart conversations with a bloggy friend in which we discussed really trivial meaningful matters like which football team has the best uniform and if the Indigo Girls might be coming out with a new CD. Eventually it turned into a more cerebral conversation about who we are and what we want most out of life.
When confronted with the question, “What do you want out of life?” I responded with, “To leave a mark.”
When my kids were born I gained a sense of purpose that I had never felt before and now, one of the things I want most out of life now is to be a good mom; to raise them so that they don’t spend too much time on a shrink’s couch, on a pole, or shooting up. Part of leaving my mark is raising smart, independent women who go for their dreams and become upstanding citizens who rule the world.
But there is a second part to that. With the birth of my girls I gained a renewed sense of determination to go for my own dreams. To lead by example, and leave my own mark; something that makes them proud of their mom. And something that remains behind after I am gone.
Some backstory: In the mid 80’s my dad’s brother, my Uncle John, set out to write a biography about our ancestor, William Austin Burt who had been a land surveyor in Upper Peninsula Michigan in the 1800’s. William Austin Burt invented one of the first solar compases, which now sits in the Smithsonian in Washington DC, and accomplished enough in a lifetime to fill an entire book. William Austin Burt and his sons were big time, seriously. Like Totally. Bad. Ass.
My dad helped my Uncle John edit his book and in 1987 the labor of love was finally published. The title of the book was “They Left Their Mark.”
Fast forward fourteen years later, to the end of my dad’s life. In the weeks leading up to his death he received accolades from countless organizations that wanted to honor him before he was gone. He also received countless cards from friends and colleagues who wanted to thank him for helping them out in some way, for his guidance and his leadership. I sifted through each card in awe of his accomplishements and selfless acts. I had always known that he had been successful in his career, but had never realized, until after he was gone, the impact he had on the city and even more importantly on the people with whom he had done business. It occured to me that he had truly left his mark; on the city, on his colleagues, and on me.
His life, as well as my uncle’s and all of my ancestor’s, have been inspirational to me to leave a mark. It’s hard to know exactly what that mark is, though I feel like my book project is a start in that direction. I’ve been slacking on my book lately, which I will be blogging about more next week but for now, I want to pose the question to you…
What do you want most out of life? How will you, dear readers, leave your mark?