We never really know what others think of us. All we can do is be our best selves and continue to be better than we were yesterday. I got to thinking about how I would want people to describe me and the answers came in this rush of positive energy that I’ve never experienced before. I think I’m finally starting to realize that I’m not internally sixteen (and miserable) anymore.
I would want people to describe me as otherworldly yet still present…if that makes any sense. I often feel like I do not belong on this planet yet at the same time I’m constantly fighting to establish some form of normalcy for myself in a world where I do not conform. There’s always that search for others like me who are effortlessly able to meet me at my level and who feel things as deeply as I do; the ones who refuse to mask the pain and confusion of intentional living with some form of drug-like substance. Meeting on the other side of where the world takes place has never been so crucial than at the point where I am right now; the point where internal mirrors don’t scare me anymore.
I want others to see my passion, dignity and integrity. I want my independent nature to take root in their spirit and view it not as a lonely life but of peace, solitude and clarity; a place to grow wings and discover the possibilities of a life lived without the concern of popular opinion. When others describe me, I want them to look the other person in the eyes and tell them, “She flourished in her fear until it got to the point where it became background noise. She matured, and it inspired me to take control of my own life as well.”
Leaving a legacy never seemed important to me in the past – I’ve got my family to remember me by and that proved to be enough. But as I get older, I find myself craving more. I want to be known as the woman who broke barriers with her bare hands; who fought for love when it looked impossible and who lived a fulfilling life despite being a perpetual misfit. If, at the end of my life, I cannot answer these two questions: Was she loved? Did she truly live? Then I have not done my job.
As children, we are taught that success means having a well-paying job and a family – marriage, children, etc. We all sort of grew up thinking there was one set path to success and no matter how crowded the road got, we all had to go one way. All of that is fine if you enjoy a life of mediocrity. As for me, I’ve been detoured enough to make anyone shake their heads and say, “You should’ve done it the normal way.” But success, to me, is not a destination but a never-ending journey. I’ll always be striving for more, always dreaming, always doing. I want to celebrate the little victories, because when you add all the little things up, it amounts to substantial amounts of success. Those little victories are yours to thrive on and keep pushing you forward into your next victory. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather gain little victories here and there rather than one big victory that wears out its welcome throughout the years.
The truth of the matter is you can have a degree, a high-paying job, a husband/wife, kids, nice car, beautiful home but you can still be the biggest jerk on the planet. Earthly things do not define success to me. When it comes from your dreams, it comes from God’s hands. Add in your own blood, sweat and tears and you’ve got yourself the definition of success. That’s all I’m ever really going to be interested in.
So what is my personal mission statement, you ask? That’s easy: To live a mindful, passionate life that keeps me on my toes and that breaks barriers until they no longer exist in my realm of vision. A life without heart is no life at all.
*This post was inspired by ‘Why You Need a Personal Mission Statement’ located in the May 2015 issue of SHAPE magazine, p.133.