I often think back to my younger self and how important it seemed to be “special” – to stand up, to be noticed, to win, to be first and yet not one of those achievements have mattered when diluted with the years, and life, what has happened in the world, and who I am.
The things that have had the biggest impact on me in my life have been those moments of connection. When I have mastered putting “self” aside and done things that were in the best interest of others, that is when my life has been most blessed. I have experienced more joy in playing some small part in the success of others than I have ever gained by simply accomplishing something myself.
Age has taught me that I am not alone, ever, in the real sense of the word. My being alone is a choice I make. It is a choice that blesses my life, but when I look up from what I am focused on I see so many others also working to understand. I see that my feelings are theirs. My concerns, theirs. I feel the journey is shared and just knowing that takes away that sense of competition. There is no first place. There is only a finish line that we will all cross and there will be no medals, just a realization within ourselves that we were not alone in the race and that it was about understanding that, taking time to see the other people and to enjoy our time together. We were meant to reason together, to laugh, to cry … to help, to be helped … so that when we crossed the line we could look back on the time and be grateful for the experience.
I will always be grateful for the experience and those people who have shared my journey, if only in a glance as we worked on our own path. So many of you have inspired me or kept me company on a cold and dark night when I was afraid. You have done it simply by being who you are and being present. Thank you.