When I was a teenager, I was an avid fan of a popular daytime soap opera. I recall the announcer saying, “Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.” Back then I was green behind the ears, did not pay enough attention to world events, and was more interested in boys and school than anything else.
During that time, my passion was a pair of parachute pants, a mini skirt, spray-in neon hair colors, and parties galore. Every now and then I would catch my dad watching the news…ugh…yuck! I remember asking him, “Why do you always watch the news?” And in his ripened wisdom, he would reply, “Because if you don’t watch the news, you don’t know what’s going on in the world.” Blech! I thought. Me? Watch news? Never!
So here I am turning 40 at the end of this year thinking that I’ve gone and done it: I’ve grown up and started paying close attention to the news! Well, I really started becoming more aware of the “news” when I hit my late 20s but over the course of the last two decades, I have had a lot more reason to become enlightened to the world around me. I guess that is a curse that comes with maturity. We live, we have fun, and then we realize that one day all of that life and fun can be taken away from us in a split second.
In my younger, poor days I remember all the hopes and dreams for which I pined. Wanted a house, wanted a car, wanted a good job, and wanted to give my kids all the things my parents could not afford in such a large family. Maybe somewhere down the line I began to understand that life and living was not about me. It was not about what I wanted. In fact, it was all about the legacy that I would leave behind. How am I going to be remembered? What have I done to leave this world a little better than before I was in it? Who and what have I impacted in some small way to make a positive difference? I tend to hope that my kids and now my grandkids will know me for my generosity and for my teaching them to be comfortable in their own skins without wearing a mask in public. But beyond that, I would like to think that whatever I have done in my life, someone – somewhere – underneath that big blue sky of ours is thinking, “That CarolAnn sure is something else. She really made a difference here.”
After having attended umpteen funerals throughout the course of my life, including my own father’s 21-gun salute military funeral, I have learned to discern that life does not matter nearly as much without the people who have influenced us in a positive manner. It is also not as pleasurable without the love and respect of peers, family members, and friends. We are all, in some small way, searching to make our mark in our own history. Take Martin Luther King, Jr. for example. Here was a man whose life mission was to bring folks of all colors and creeds together in harmony. This was someone who literally put his life on the line to determine the future of not just his people, but of the Nation itself. His legacy is one that we, as a progressive nation, can reflect upon and say, “MLK was a good and dedicated man.”
We are all not destined to be great leaders or great leaders of movements, but we are intended to be a shining light in our own right. What we give back to our families, our communities, our environment, and our world is probably the most important thing we can do to leave a lasting and constructive impression on this planet. How we treat our fellow human beings and animals is a stellar example of what type of persons we are.
I think Liberty Mutual Insurance commercials did an exemplary portrayal of this type of behavior in their recent advertising campaign, where they demonstrate how one individual witnesses a random act of kindness and it creates a chain reaction all around the community. It is amazing how just one small work can achieve such a phenomenal outcome.
The “days of our lives”, rather, the “days of my life” have become filled with a compelling desire to initiate a chain reaction of positivity in this world. Whether that includes making my environment safer and healthier for the next generation by actively engaging in the politics of the laws and lawmakers to help develop those changes, or simply smiling and helping someone into his or her car – these opportunities are ways to make the days of our lives happier, more gratifying and more significant. We must be the ones to initiate the change we want to become.
These are the Days of our Lives
By CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Social Media, Philosophy, Poetry and More
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