What will your legacy be?

There are a lots of things we take for granted. In medicine, this is highlighted every day. It’s not just walking or the ability to do things, but also even basic life functions like eating, talking, and breathing; and some cases, just appearing “normal”. There are days when I’m just happy my patient has a regular heart beat–I’m not even shooting for independent breathing or even independent blood pressure.

The reality is that if you’re reading this, and any part of this blog, you’re fairly healthy, mobile, and possessed of your mental faculties enough to read. You have the ability to enact change in your life. If you’re sitting on the fence, you’re choosing to sit there.

Fitness,working out, dieting–these are all luxuries. They are all choices you are allowed to make because you have food abundance, the economic means to choose, even the mysterious privilege to have been born in an environment that has afforded you technology, education and health care. Each day that you don’t take full advantage of these opportunities is a day that is squandered potential–even if the opportunity you’re supposed to take advantage of is rest (which is, in and of itself, a luxury.)

I have come to view the opinion that you should live your life as though each day is your last with mixed opinions. I like the underlying message of seizing the day like it’s your last one, but it’s really hard to live each day that way. There are certain realities and responsibilities that we have already chosen to commit to, and while it’s a great idea to plan your escape strategy if you’re not doing what you really want to do, the dirty laundry isn’t going away in the event you don’t die before tomorrow morning.

For another, I think most of us would live our last day in a fairly self-centered fashion. My last day would presumably be filled with all of the things _I_ would want to experience as the last earthly sensations of my existence. I probably wouldn’t go to work. And the day would very much be about me. Maybe I’m selfish that way. I confess to having days where I get caught up in the day-to-day, and that it takes moments of reflection for the extraordinary-that-has-become-ordinary to become extraordinary again. But I was lucky enough to have a life-changing experience 2 weeks ago on my first mission with Operation Smile that was so phenomenally powerful that the way I look at the world and my role in it will never be the same again.

Today is the launch day of Brian Grasso’s short film, “Life By Numbers“. It’s a powerful piece asking you to challenge your life. I usually keep my blog endorsement-free to avoid bias, but I think everyone should see this film at least once. I also want to take things one step further, because I think it’s not enough to take the courage to pursue the dream you’ve always want to chase. I think that while you’re contemplating what it is you REALLY want to do with your life, it’s worth also considering what difference you can make for others who dont’t enjoy your position of privilege, and the creation of YOUR legacy. A great body is something we are all lucky enough to have the chance to shoot for and is, in my opinion, a noble pursuit, but what do you want to be remembered for?

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