I remember when I was 23 years old. My body was like a perfect mean machine. There was nothing I couldn’t do with it, be it jump, run, wrestle, swim, etc. You name it, I could do it with flying colors. I thought myself as an indestructible Superman who feared no green Kryptonite. As I aged gradually, I got wiser and understood that this machine would some day reach the end of the line.
The following poem describes very well the fact that there will be a time when the journey will be all over. At this moment, I can’t recall the author’s name of this touching piece of literature, or where I stumbled into it. I apologize in advance for not giving credit to its author. Having said that, here we go:
A LIFE THAT MATTERS
“Ready or not, some day, it will come to an end.
There will be no more surprises: no minutes hours or days.
All things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass on to some else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owed or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments , frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, will your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to- do lists expire.
The wins and losses, that once seemed so important, will fade away.
At the end, it won’t matter where you were born or what side of the tracks you lived.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So, what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built…
Not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people knew you, but how many people will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter are not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstances but of choice.
Are you choosing a life that matters?”
I just found out the name of the author of above poem. He is Michael Josephson, founder of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.