How do you measure a life?


Seventy-three years is all I’m expected to have in this life.

Today, I’m thirty-one years old. Am I wasting my time? Seventy-three doesn’t seem very long. Should I spend every waking second in a self-centered mad dash to experience all the things on my bucket list before my time runs out?

Does it matter how I leave the world I lived in for those still here and yet to come after I’m gone?

Does it matter how much success I experience or how many mountains I climb while I’m here?

Does it matter the other lives my life has affected in some way?

At age 28, I married my wife Lori. I promised to spend the rest of my life by her side, offering her an endless companionship of love, support, and understanding. One of the best decisions I’ve made in my 31 years so far.

Last year, at age 30, we created a new life together. Lori gave birth to a little boy. We named him Owen, which means “young warrior,” and “well-born.” He’s our little champion and it’s our current focus to provide the best life we can for our son.

Is that the meaning of life? To continue the cycle – to pass on our successes and experiences, the wisdom we gained, the lessons learned, and the love we shared, to the next generation so that life may continue?

Oh, how mighty the minutes are. In the wee hours of the morning our son cries for milk. He’s hungry and he’s helpless. Without one of his parents to come to his aid, he would exhaust himself, he’d suffer, and his life would be of poorer quality. His chances of survival would diminish. His potential for continued life would drop significantly.

Each of his cries carry this magnitude of importance for his parents. Their child aches and suffers but only momentarily until they come to the rescue. This is parenting. A million individual moments of reflex and reaction to your child’s needs, until the child has developed enough to operate for himself.

Each child requires this same type of attention and parenting, yet we take for granted that there will be a generation after us. Life moves on, we say. The cycle continues. People are born, and they die, and life goes on. But does it?

Does life go on if it weren’t for every single parent of the previous generation making momentary, insignificant, infinitesimal decisions to feed their children, to stop them from crying? Does life go on if people refuse to take steps forward? What would happen if you chose not to go to work? What would happen if you couldn’t afford to buy food? Who would go hungry then? Would life continue, as it always has? For you, and your family at least?

We take for granted the choices we make, assuming our individual actions and decisions have no baring on the continuation of life itself.

Perhaps I only have seventy-three years to live on this Earth. But imagine the ripples of the choices I’ve made my 31 years so far. Imagine the life my son will lead, and the decisions he will make, and the consequences of his future choices – none of which would come to pass if it weren’t for a simple choice my wife and I made not too long ago.

Because Owen lives, countless other lives may be changed. And that’s true for every human life on this planet.

That’s how significant our decisions are. That’s how important you are. Every day you live, every choice you make, will have unfathomable consequences on the people immediately around you, and around the world, now and for years to come.

Seventy-three years doesn’t seem like that long of a life. But, imagine what the world would be without the thirty-one I’ve lived so far.

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