Leave Something Great
I was reading People magazine cover-to-cover as I always do (how else to stay current on Miley Cyrus’s life?) when I came across a great quote by Cyndi Lauper.
[Can I just pause before telling you her words to talk about how much I wanted to be like Cyndi Lauper when I was little? I would push one side of my hair over my head and wish I could get that side crop that she had in the 80s. Plus, I wanted my hair to be orange since that’s my favourite colour. And I wanted to wear Betsey Johnson dresses. Oooh, and I wanted to hang out with Boy George. I don’t know if Cyndi actually ever hung out with Culture Club, but in my imagination, they were best friends who got burritos together and laughed and laughed.]
Cyndi commented that despite all she has already accomplished, she continues to work in order to have her ass covered before she has to depart this earth. She says,
I always want to try to do something that will live beyond us. If I’m going to leave something behind, might as well make sure it’s good.
I don’t know why it struck me enough to drag the magazine around with me for several days, moving it from room to room as I thought about it. I mean, isn’t that all any of us are trying to do? Make our mark?
And then I wondered how many times I’ve actually truly looked at the quality of all the creations I’m leaving behind. Start small: this blog. Not every post is quality. Some of it is just incoherent ramblings about Candy Crush usually written after playing too much Candy Crush. And I’m sending that out into the universe; this drivel about an iPhone game. THAT is going to be what lives on after I’m gone?
Then the books. They’re not exactly Harper Lee quality. They’re not making profound statements or changing the fabric of a nation. Is it good enough to send fun into the universe? And does fun stick to the ribs long enough to stand in place for me after I’m gone?
Not to get all morbid on you.
Then the twins. I’m making them, even though their free will certainly undoes some of my hard work, such as teaching them the best of musical theater. But I am fairly proud of the work I’m doing there. They may just be good enough to feel like I left the world better than I found it, though I’m not sure how much credit I can actually take for that fact. A lot of people have influenced who they’ve become.
There are my words and my actions and my cooking (I really do hope that I’ll be remembered for my chocolate chip cookies; that recipe took so many years to create). There are the times I’ve paused for another person. The times I didn’t even realize that I had affected someone’s day. It works both ways — I’m sure I’ve negatively affected people as much as I’ve positively affected people. But the subject of this post is the good things we leave behind.
From my point-of-view, I look at all that Cyndi has accomplished and think, “you could rest, you know, if you wanted.” If she never wrote another song, if she never wrote another score, she would still leave the world with her mark firmly in place. With something really good left behind. But it really is in the eye of the beholder. She still is continuing to create because there is no “done,” no end point to look at and say, “that’s it; the best I can do.”
You just keep working hard, trying to leave something great.
What are you going to leave behind today to mark your spot in this world?