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For some reason this time of year makes me philosophical. Occasionally I sit down and meditate to a new question, and plumb the depths of the meaning. Lately, I've asked myself how I'm doing so far in my life, measured by the only yardstick that matters: "What have I left behind?" If you'd like, you might meditate to this one also as a change in your routine.
By "What I left behind" I mean what difference did my life make in the world so far? Everyone's life does make a difference, no matter how seemingly inconsequential. It's mostly in ways you won't know about or notice. You arrived on this world like a rock being thrown into a pond, but your life is the ripple spreading out on the water, not the rock. Every day your actions affect others. Those actions can relieve suffering a bit or cause massive amounts of suffering, but one way or another the ripples keep going.
For myself, I guess I go for quantity, lots of tiny ripples instead of one big splash. Putting a million smiles on someone's face or helping them in tiny ways might not change the world or put me in the history books, but maybe it made it a little better place to live for a few people. The ripples spread out, but the twig on the water bobs up and down and doesn't notice.
So what did you leave behind so far?