Vaneisa Baksh posed an important question in a blog at Wired868.com. “Who am I to history?”
She was describing a character in a popular TV show who had been examining his life and a string of failures that left him wondering whether his life had been without purpose.
“Shuffling toward this bleak emptiness, he is overcome by the sense of being a loser: unloved, unwelcome and, ultimately, unhappy,” Vaneisa wrote.
Wow! That can describe so many people over 50 who are living lives of quiet desperation without any sense of purpose. We so desperately want to believe our lives made a difference, that we can be overcome with remorse when we reflect on what could have been had we made a greater effort to be a contributor, not a consumer.
The good news is that as long as you have breath in your lungs, you can still make a difference.
“Unless we are completely devoid of any capacity to examine our lives, at some point we must have asked ourselves why we are here on this planet,” Vaneisa wrote. “Are we here to accomplish something, or to contribute to its upkeep?”
That’s a very good question. I suspect all of us feel called to do something to make the world a little better as a result of our having lived.
In church today, my pastor made an astute observation. Because we reap what we sow, that means the condition of our life today is a direct result of what we sowed into it in prior years. If we have selfish goals, that means we only sow into ourselves. But, if we have generous goals, we can impact many others to lift them up as well.
“Humans have always been obsessed with acquisitions and accomplishments. Fame, glory and wealth are commonly used as measuring sticks for the definition of a successful life,” said Vaneisa. “There is something very self-centered about that — to me, anyway — and I often wonder why these have come to be regarded more valuable than that fading trait of civic-mindedness.
“It is true that we live in the age of individualism; everywhere the concern is about me, me, me,” she added. “It’s easy to fall into the mindset that one is entitled to have everything one’s heart desires, without having to put out any effort.”
I am watching football this afternoon as teams compete for the final spots in the 2024 NFL playoff games. That caused me to wonder who won the Super Bowl five years ago? Who was the most valuable player in the NFL three years ago? Who is the highest-paid player in the NFL today?
The answers to those questions, while important, really have zero impact on the lives of anyone else other than the recipients of the honor.
On the other hand, think back to the most important people who impacted your life. They likely didn’t make a lot of money, but made an investment of their time, which altered the trajectory of your life.
That means every one of us has the ability to pour ourselves into other people and, by doing so, we solidify a legacy that goes far beyond momentary honors.
“It comes back to the idea of feeling there is a purpose to your existence. Is there anything that motivates you to set foot into the world with enthusiasm? The idea of being of service, of making a contribution, is what drives my sense of purpose,” wrote Vaneisa.
As the new year begins, she felt it was important to ponder those things. I, too, am motivated more than ever to use my natural talent, learned skills and unique life experiences in way that will benefit others in the year ahead.
What about you? Who are you to history?
You can read Vaneisa’s full blog at www.wired868.com.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.