Guest Contributor: Shari Solis
My daughter is a senior in high school this year. Watching her plan for her future has been sort of surreal. The time for me seems so long ago and, still, I remember the feeling of it like yesterday. Staring at the future with dreamy eyes. The world is full of possibilities at this point in your life. One of the greatest things about my daughter's generation is their desire to make their mark on the world a positive. I hear her and her classmates dreaming of ways that they can make the world better. Some are focusing on climate change. Some of them are pursuing careers in science, technology, or medicine. These are all potential platforms to allow for positive contributions for the generations that follow.
I love young people and their lofty ambitions. But, as I watch my daughter and her friends begin this transition, I feel inspired to share some lessons that I have learned now that I am older and wiser. Making your mark can happen in the most unexpected ways. I hope that others, like me, go out into the world and try to be good humans. The most incredible ways that we can make our mark do not happen in the grand ways that we imagine as young people. I have found that a single action, done on a one-on-one basis, can often have a bigger impact than any grand gesture. Helping my neighbor unload her groceries when she isn't feeling well often has a bigger impact than a talk to an auditorium of students. Now....that's not to say that my talk didn't make an impact. The one-on-one moments cause what I like to call the Pay It Forward phenomenon. My neighbor receives my kind gesture and is kind to someone else in need and it spirals. Suddenly you have a block party and a kid collected food for a sick neighbor two blocks away. Now your neighborhood has become a kinder place because people are getting to know each other.
I guess my point is simple. Making your mark is something that people seem to blow up in their mind's eye. Some will go on to achieve their grand dreams but that is a small percentage. Most of us become frustrated because we feel like we haven't made our mark in the ways that we envisioned while standing, starry eyed, on the cusp of adulthood. I just want to remind you that the biggest impact you make on your world is I how you treat yourself and others. Impacts are made every day in the smallest of details.