My Life: Best Seller or Dust Collector?

This post is inspired by Wordpress for listing some great ideas for blogging.  The idea was, if your life was a book, would you read it?  If you chose to read it, you have to read it from cover to cover.

This made me think.  I’ve had some “interesting” things happen to me in my life.  However, is it a story of amazing tragedy, triumph over the impossible, or an unforgettable love story?  Nope!  While all three of these things happened in my life, do these single or multiple episodes make up a scintillating best seller?  Probably not.  Would it be a dust collector?  Depends on my level of commitment to market the heck out of it, and I don’t see that happening.

I think it is hard for us to look at our own lives and think that it would be an interesting read for others.  The grass is always greener effect seems to be in play here.  There are those amazing stories you hear about, like war heroes, hostage situations, abuse, love that conquered all, and inspirational comebacks, but again, these are time stamps on the fabric of what makes up a lifetime.  Does it mean that person’s entire lifetime is remarkable?  Most likely, the vast majority of us are not Mother Theresa’s, Nelson Mandela’s, or Ghandi, and thus fall short of a lifetime of remarkable.  However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have something valuable and worthwhile to share, even if it is a little snippet of your life line, and not the entirety of it.

I look at imparting what I’ve learned to my children as a way of making all of the good and bad things that transpired in my life to be meaningful.  I look at imparting to others, whether it is words of wisdom, encouragement, sympathy, or constructive criticism as a way to bring my past experiences richness, fullness, and worth.  The greatest joy of being a parent is when you hear your child share with one of their friends words of wisdom you have imparted to them.  It brings validation and a sense of purpose to all that forms the story of your life.  It is in these living pages, where reality isn’t fiction, but a hard won truth that will live on long after you are gone; these are the moments that make your story worth reading, even if that is the only page anyone ever sees.

As an author, I love words.  I love holding a book in my hand and being transported to another place.  What I realized though, while contemplating the blog post suggestion of a book of our lives, is it isn’t the words that make the story of our lives; it is the people we encounter and leave changed, or that change us that are the real story.  The living pages of what shapes our personality, our character, our integrity, or our future.  When you look at it like that, my life is an open book.  Easy to read for the most part, with drama, intrigue, passion, vulnerability, struggles, temptations, short-comings, joy, and triumphs.  All the messy bits of life that make us unique, special, and worth knowing.  People through the ages have tried to have their name memorialized in stone, in music, in print, etc., but I think the real legacy is how many people have been positively impacted by us.  They carry a tiny piece of us with them, and in turn, mix it with a part of themselves and pass it on to another.  We keep living long after we have ceased to draw breath.

While I have no desire to write the story of my life, I certainly want to keep adding living pages to my timeline on this earth.  If it indelibly touches another, then it is the most powerful story every told.  In that way, I will be a best-selling author, even if I never collect a single royalty from it.

Dreams

So you are thinking I am talking about those black and white images that meander through your head as you sleep…nope, not those dreams.  I am referring to those things you want to do, but seem so far out of your reach, that all you can call them are dreams, because they certainly aren’t reality.

I have been priviledged to watch the dreams or talents of others unfold over the past number of years, including my own.   I wrote a book and published it last year, called “A Dragon’s Passion”.  Is it a number one bestseller yet…no, but that wasn’t my goal when I wrote it.  I hadn’t planned on publishing it, so the fact that it is in print is my reward at this moment.  Does it mean that I don’t want it to be a bestseller, no.  I would like to see it be as famous as some other authors that have written mega popular series that are now movies, but if that never happens, I am still satisfied.

I am particularly excited about seeing the talents of a friend of mine, who couldn’t see her amazing talent for painting or drawing back when I met her 10 years ago.  She was too bogged down by obligations and duty (much like the heroine in my book) to see that she was special.  She took the leap of faith that was required and has been very successful in selling her paintings here in Canada, and now in the US.  If you have a moment, check out her daily paint works on this site: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/allartists/#/artist=eaton, krista&mode=search.  These past couple of years have been a transition for her as she relocated to the US and had to rebuild her business in a new market.  She paints every day, and she has two small children to look after, so finding her niche wasn’t easy, but I think she has done it.

I have the opportunity now to watch as my own family begin new chapters and stretch the boundaries of what they thought was possible.  For my daughter, it is the transition into adulthood and college that she is on the threshold of, and I am so looking forward to watching her develop her talents and interests into a career she will love.  I have the best seat in the house to watch my husband expand his business and possibly author a book of his own this year.  Of course, there is my son, who is an amazing wrestler, and is only beginning to tap into his talent in this arena.

I guess the point I am making, is that there is amazing things beginning to take shape and bloom all around you if you stop long enough to look for them.  Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our own dreams that aren’t fulfilled, that we miss the little miracles that happen in others.  These dreams while they may not be your own, are no less important.  They show you that anything is possible if you truly want it.  It doesn’t mean it is easy, just possible.  Sometimes in waiting, we discover that the dream we thought we wanted, isn’t what we were meant to do at all.  Often times, it is bigger, and more diverse than anything we planned.  Sometimes, it is a small change that produces a big impact in the life of someone else that has the power to change the world. 

I’ve discovered that the times I feel most successful and fulfilled, are those times when I can stand beside someone else and congratulate them on their success in reaching their dreams.  I love being the inspiration behind the success, more than I enjoy my own.  That may sound strange, it may sound like I am trying to show false modesty, or lack sincerity, but it is truly where I find the most joy.  If anything I do can impact the life of someone else positively, I have realized my dreams and potential.  I have operated in my own destiny and purpose for living.  I feel sorry for those that will never experience this sense of accomplishment, as it is the most rewarding (in my opinion anyway).

Whatever your dreams are, keep pressing forward.  Find that person who will be your personal cheerleader, and allow them to motivate, inspire, and direct you on your path.  It might be a total stranger, or someone close to you, but often it comes from somewhere you never thought to look.  While on that journey of dream building, don’t forget to stop and relish in the joy of someone else’s accomplishments.  They may just be the catalyst to you reaching yours!