This post was written in response to the prompt, “If you were writing your epitaph, what three words would you want to be your legacy?” Thanks to Amy at The Reinvention of Amy for the inspiration. You can read more responses to her prompt here.
A few months back I turned the big 4-0. It was a big birthday. Not just in numbers, but in how it felt. A couple of months before my birthday I began to get antsy and irritable. I wasn’t happy about crossing out of youth and into middle age. The realization hit that I could very possibly have fewer years ahead of me than I had behind me. It created for me a sense of urgency about life. I wouldn’t have forever to do the things I always wanted and wished to do.
I dealt with it at first by making bucket lists and plans. We celebrated my birthday by going to a music venue that I had been wanting to check out since I was twenty. Better late than never. Then I began getting really honest with myself about my actual hopes and dreams. I admitted to myself that I had been wanting to write for some time, but had been avoiding this dream like crazy because of fear. And then I decided that it would be much more tragic to never try for the dream at all than to have gone for it and failed.
Because when we start thinking about the end of our life, we realize that the most tragic of ends would be to have only half lived.
At some point after 40 the fear of not fully living my life began to outweigh my fears of failure and change. And then I began to ponder the possibility of looking fear in the eye and then just walking by. For life is too short to be ruled by fear. It is meant to be lived full out, with all the accompanying falls, scrapes and bruises.
I do not hope to look back on my life and see that I have lived perfectly, as fear would have me do. However, I would like to look back on my life and see that I have lived fully.
For as Iraneus tells us,
For this reason, one day when I have breathed my last I would hope for these three words to be my legacy . . . she truly lived.