50 Year Goal Image

My grandmother passed away last week. She was 88 years old. One of the gifts that accompanies the grief one sorts out when losing someone close is reflection. It causes one to think about the memories with that person, and to reflect upon personally about one’s life.

One of my thoughts was my grandma being 51 when I was born. So if I live as she lived, I have a little over 50 years of life. It seems like a long time. But I read an article a couple of days ago about a father asking his daughter what her 50-year goals were. The question was seemingly out of context to her. Their family was on vacation and in a church service, when her dad, sitting next to her, leaned over and asked the question What are your 50-year goals She was 19-years-old. At the time of her writing the article recounting this episode, she had 5 years left of that 50-year goal.

As I have thought about the same question, my mind has turned more to the person I want to be and not the things I hope to do. It is easy to start listing projects when thinking about goals: write the great American novel or retire at age X. But when I consider characteristics I want to be remembered for, it comes down to the person I am and not what I have accomplished.

The characteristics I’ve thought about are:

  1. Being remembered as a person of greater and greater faith. I am not referring to my beliefs, but that I had an evident trust in God.
  2. Being remembered as a kind person. I want all the fruits of the Spirit to be exhibited in my life, but kindness is one I especially want evident.
  3. Being remembered for the change that I affected in who they are as a person.

Granted, accomplishments are often coupled with a person’s character. However, the qualities that impact others, long after a person has passed, are connected less to accomplishments and more to character.

You may not have 50 years ahead of you on this earth. That’s really not the point. I think it is a valuable exercise to consider whether you have 50 years or 50 days. Every life leaves a trace. What is your life going to leave behind? The influence one has continues into the lives of those that live after. 50 years from now, when people think about you, what will they be remembering?

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