Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it.

29 Dec

Gandhi said that whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it. Because nobody else will.

I just finished watching Remember Me for the third time this week, and of course bawled like a baby like I do every time I watch it. That movie seriously kills me, it is kind of depressing over all, but it is so amazing! And it really got me thinking. I love the quote in it by Gandhi, that is actually quoted twice, in the beginning and the end:

Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it.

It’s so simple, yet so deep at the same time. I mean, really think back on your life, and all of the people who have left footprints on you, whether big or small. I’m sitting here contemplating these figures in my own life, and I guess I’m realizing that for my naturally strong-willed self to constantly be proudly proclaiming “I am my own person,” is actually quite untrue because I can see that I am the product of many other people. Now, this is quite humbling to admit for someone who strives to be independent, opinionated, and unique. But I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today without the influence of so many others, both good and bad.

The good is obvious, there will be people who walk into your life and make you see the world in an entirely different way. They may inspire you to be a better person, no matter how big or small the scale is. There are many people in my life that I owe huge thanks to for opening my eyes to my own shortcomings. At the time I may not have liked it or wanted it, but looking back it’s obvious that I needed it. Other people changed my life simply by the friendship that they offered. I have one friend in particular that I met on a church trip, he lived in another state but we kept in touch, talking on the phone for hours literally every single night through the rest of high school. Together we pulled each other through some really rough times, and at the end of the day we were convinced we were made for each other, and would one day be together forever. Even after my dad flew me out to visit him one year, we were still 1000+ miles apart and too young to do anything permanent about it, and what’s a teenager to do with a dilemma like that? Eventually we went our separate ways (my fault, really) and I have to say that there were, and are, many times I think back on what we had and now that I’m older I wonder what could’ve happened had I not given up. But then one day it kind of hit me, that every good thing you have in life doesn’t necessarily have to be permanent. Sometimes a person will be placed in your life to help you through something specific or to fulfill a need you have, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that person is meant to be around forever. Ya know? But that’s a good thing. Because it makes room for so many more people and experiences. Like, the two of us were there for each other for some pretty crucial years, but now it’s almost like we did what needed to be done and it’s time to move on to new opportunities to touch the lives of others.

Where all this ties in to what I started on, is the story-line of Remember Me. (If you haven’t seen it, proceed through this paragraph with caution– or maybe even skip it altogether– because this might be somewhat of a spoiler). The end gets me every time, and naturally you’re like “Why?! WHY?!” but then the final scene (in the museum– Again, trying to be vague for those who haven’t seen it) is just so heart-warming because you see that while Tyler never did anything so terribly huge or significant, he had truly touched the life of his family members, and gave them so much more to live for. What he did was insignificant, but it was very important that he did it. Following me now?

So, back to real life. The things that are even harder to admit is that even very negative experiences and people in your life play a part in molding you into who you are today. This might not even be a good thing. People can have impacts on you that can leave you hurt, broken, scarred, and in such a condition that you may feel like you are irreversibly damaged. But going through some of these experiences myself, the crazy thing is that even the worst memories can positively affect your life. If you sit around and feel like your life is terrible and that everyone in the world has done you wrong and that you didn’t deserve any of these terrible things that happened to you (which is probably completely true), you are going to fall into the “victim” mentality where your outlook on life becomes generally negative and “woe is me”. The encouraging thing is that this is not a state of mind that you have to be stuck in forever! Try to look at your life experiences– good, and bad– with an objective and clear frame of mind. Sometimes the most painful experiences are what have the most profoundly wonderful effects on your life. They say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and there is a surprising amount of truth in that statement. After dealing with some rather unsavory characters in the last couple years, I feel like it has brought me to a point in life where I can truly appreciate the genuinely good people that surround me. We’re all human, but I would like to believe that I no longer take anyone for granted.

Everyone’s lives will teach them different things, but what I’m getting at is that no matter how bad things get, the right frame of reference can lead you to view anything as a learning experience. You are only given one life, and unless you embrace every moment– the good and the bad– you are going to come to the end of it and realize that you spent all your time wishing it away instead of rolling with the punches and becoming the best person you can be (and having a darn good time along the way!). The kicker is that while you think your choices only affect yourself, sometimes you will have no idea the ways you are ultimately changing the lives of others as well. You have a unique fingerprint that will leave impacts on others that no one else can, which is why it is very important that you do even the most seemingly insignificant things– because no one else will. You have no control over the cards you’re dealt, but it is completely up to you how you choose to play the hand.

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2 Responses to “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it.”

  1. Vincent October 27, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    I just wanted to say how much I agree with what you said. The most seemingly benign or insignificant decision a person makes can have an impact that has the potential to be life changing. I often think about when I was in the military – what if I had left a week earlier, what if I had decided to go to airborne school, what if I had picked a different Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in the army? Where would I be today if any of those variables had changed? Would I have come out any differently? Would I have gotten wounded? Even KIA? How would my family have been affected?
    You can play the “what if” game until you’re blue in the face; but I have come to realize that the decisions you make in life have the potential to be life changing not only for you but for other people that you are connected to. When I think to myself “what difference does it make what I do?”, I think about how it would affect others. Not in the self-conscious sense of “what would they think of me”; but more so “what sort of impact would it have on their lives?”

    When you wrote about the difficult/negative experiences that can have a profound impact on your life, I know what you mean. When you struggle in life and/or go through certain experiences that are life changing; it’s not easy to take a step back (zoom out) and look at the larger scheme. It can take a while; years even.
    The most profound statement I’ve come across in a while is in this blog.
    “You have a unique fingerprint that will leave impacts on others that no one else can, which is why it is very important that you do even the most seemingly insignificant things – because no one else will … You have no control over the cards you’re dealt, but it is completely up to you how you choose to play the hand.”

    I’m really glad that I came across your blog; you can’t imagine how comforting it is to know that other people think in a similar vein or train of thought that I do. Sincerely enjoyed reading your blog!

    -Vincent

    • lauramargie November 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Vincent,

      Thanks for the comment! It’s awesome to hear that other people’s thoughts are sparked by my own ramblings :) Thanks for stopping by!

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