I’d like to take a minute to share a story with you that shaped the way I look at the struggles we encounter while trying to keep up with the Joneses. Especially now, with social media, the pressure to compete with other people’s highlight reels is draining.
It was a very scary and stressful season of my life. I was a Realtor when the recession hit and the housing market crashed, needless to say, it knocked the wind and security right out of me. I was a single mom, trying to set a good example for my little girl. Owned a home I was struggling to keep. Had bills I couldn’t pay, for luxuries I didn’t need. The smile on my face was hiding the fear that was suffocating me. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel.
Every day I walked a three-mile loop to get away from the pressures, escape the phone and forget my responsibilities. There is an old cemetery along my route that I’d passed for years, never entering because, quite frankly, it freaks me out!! Seriously, I get ridiculously uncomfortable with dead people under my feet. For some reason, on a quiet sunny afternoon, my dog and I wandered in. I don’t know why I was just drawn to.
As we looked at the stones and read a few names an amazing calm came over me. I realized that I had no idea what kind of car they drove, what their home had looked like, how big their bank accounts were if they were fit or fluffy, were they liked or loathed … no idea … they were all just stones now. WOW, That realization comforted me instantly. If I was to lose everything, it wouldn’t matter. If I die broke, it wouldn’t matter. If people judge me, it wouldn’t matter. I’ll be just fine, it wouldn’t take away who I am as a person. We all just end up as stones being read by a girl and her dog.
So everything I was fighting so hard to keep, none of those things mattered. We live on in the memories of our loved ones and if we are kind, honest, loving, genuine, helpful and spread joy everywhere we go … that’s what is important … that is our legacy!!
It’s simple … all that matters is … WHO We Are NOT What We Have!!
Since that day, I never pass the cemetery without being grateful for the lessons I learned. I don’t fear the judgment of others, or pass judgment myself. Possessions are just objects to me now, they don’t define who I am.
We have to walk through fear and uncertainty (or a cemetery;) to become a woman we can be proud of and a mother our children can respect. Stand up straight, let things go, be a good human, love lots and laugh at everything!! Don’t worry and struggle over the things that don’t matter. We leave this place as equals. Be a source of love and joy that people will remember. Hold loved ones tight not objects. Cherish yourself because you are making it!!
In the end, people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelo