I am so blessed to have the opportunities I have in life. I am very very young and have done more traveling than a lot of adults I know. I’m bilingual. I’m accomplishing and living and I’m never satisfied. I hope that when I’m old and gray, sitting in a rocking chair, I’ll be surrounded by people because I’ve spent my life loving completely and living fully. I don’t think that, when I’m old or even after I’ve passed away, people will remember me for my money, my cars, my house, etc. They’ll remember my contributions to society, my love, my patience, my selflessness, my interesting experiences that I can share with the rest of the world. And if I don’t have these… at the end of the day, I’m going to be forgotten and insignificant. God will always see my worth, but truthfully I won’t be very interesting… and I won’t have any good memories to ponder when I’m alone.
I, before coming to Portugal, volunteered with a group of (very very) amateur singers. Our sole mission was to go once a month to the local nursing home, to sing, talk, pray, and listen. I quickly discovered that these people who weren’t getting to do much were happy or unhappy almost exclusively based upon the choices they’d already made and the experiences they’d already had. Having a family wasn’t an across-the-board joy-bringer. Nor was wealth. (I could seriously do a blog post just on why it might be that having a marriage and children aren’t sure-fire guarantees of happiness ….) Indeed, usually the joy was love in any form (if the marriage was loving then it was a source of permanent happiness even after the death of the spouse). It was amazing life experiences… including the messy ones. It was travel, and barely thinking ahead. It was gaining knowledge about an area of passion. It was faith. It was living abundantly, carelessly, fully.
These are the things that I want to have to look back on one day. I already have spectacular memories, awesome stories. I’ve lived through a lot of pain but it’s grown me. I’ve made mistakes but sometimes stupidity is the best memory! I’ve loved and I’ve hated. Hopefully the love has softened away the hate and hopefully the hate made me wiser, not harder.
I hope that when I am dying, I’ll be regret-free. I hope I’ll be an example of how to live happily. I hope I’ll have a heart of love. I’ll not have these memories and this satisfaction then if I don’t put in the effort now, today. It’s not easy to live effortlessly….

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