If someone told you, right now, to write a bio about yourself, what would you say? Would you list out your accomplishments? The jobs you’ve held? The places you’ve been? Or would you talk about where you grew up, the colleges you went to, and the degrees you’ve earned? You probably wouldn’t talk about the way you’ve made people feel, or the good you’ve done in your life. Or, if you did, it wouldn’t always be your first thought when you sat down in front of that blank word document. The thing is, we spend a lot of our life amassing things that make us look good on paper, like degrees, careers, companies. We rarely find time to focus on the aspects of life that truly matter though, like who we are as a person. And although that resume is going to be out there in the internet stratosphere long after we’re gone, it won’t be nearly as important as the emotional impact we’ve had on those around us.
Yesterday, I read an article about a young woman who wrote a letter to her family right before she passed away from cancer. In it, she tells us to stop worrying about what is inconsequential, that we should let go of small infractions and focus on life as a whole. She tells us that we shouldn’t take our health, our friends, our family, our being for granted, because too often, we all do, and only realize it when it’s too late. Prior to me reading that article, I spent about two hours in horrible traffic (because it rained in SoCal, which might as well have been a snowstorm), and most of that time was spent being frustrated. Pissed at the people who couldn’t seem to get their crap together, pissed at the fact that I was now running late, pissed at the fact that I couldn’t even enjoy the first real rainfall in the five months I’ve been here. Instead of relishing my time in the car – time that I’ll never get back – I wasted it being angry and annoyed about NOTHING. Looking back, is that something I’d want to reflect who I am as a person? Would I EVER write something like that in a bio? Is that how I would want to be memorialized?
Of course, we want to be remembered in the way we view ourselves – you know, our secret selves that we never explicitly share but hope people just see. Because we ALL want to be seen as who we truly are. We all secretly want our bios to be about how we brightened up one person’s day, how we loved passionately and forgave willingly, how our words made all the difference in another person’s decision to try harder and persevere. We can’t fully be that sort of person though, if we’re entirely focused on the next level of success. Achievement is wonderful, but if you don’t take the time to enjoy and reflect on the process, it’s purposeless. So today, and tomorrow, and even the next day, take a moment to think about your “bio” – your resiliency, your impact, your character. Most importantly, though, take notice of the things you’re grateful for – and actually be grateful.