By Richard Ray:
I used to think about death far too often. When I was in college I remembered reading statistics that said roughly 1 in 4 Black males would be either killed or incarcerated before the age of 24. Even as I finished college and graduate school, I lived in an alternative universe in which I was guilty of bad decisions that easily rivaled the positive I was also doing, I was actually relieved as if I had won life’s lottery once I turned 24.
I am still actively aware of my own mortality, yet I am consumed by life and living rather than death. I have lived an extraordinary and blessed life to date, but I am far from complacent. I feel that there is so much more to see… so much more to do. As I get older, and take greater note of death around me, I think about the legacy that we all leave from our time on earth. Dick Gregory just passed at 84. He lived a relatively long life of great achievement. He was a groundbreaking comedian, performing in front of many nearly all White audiences in segregated times. Despite his privilege he became a well known activist during the Civil Rights movement and beyond. Many may even know him because of his diet supplement that was well known in the 80s.
Not everyone is expected to live an extraordinary life. You do not have to achieve greatness to make an impact and a difference. While I take great pains in not giving much to any thought to what people think about me, it is still important to me to strive to be a good man. I want to be known as someone who helped people… who cared… about people and injustice.
I am not sure how I will be remembered, but I know I still have a ways to go to cement a positive legacy. I do not do anything for effect or just to be remembered. How you are truly remembered will be genuine. None of us are perfect, but are you someone who strives to do good and help others? Are you empathetic to those less blessed than yourself?
While most of us may not be able to answer those questions in the affirmative 100% of the time, our efforts to do good still count. I may never achieve fame, but it is important that I do more to leave a positive imprint in this world. It is easy to sit back and complain. It is easy to do little. Yet, I feel it is even more important to help others and pass on blessings and guidance that are so bountiful in my life. So many others are really less fortunate. So many others really lack opportunity. I have made enough mistakes for 10 lifetimes… just sharing the avoidance of some of these pitfalls is worthwhile information to some.
Hopefully my time is nowhere near over. There is still so much to see, do and share. No one knows how much time we are allowed, so I try and leave a positive footprint in the world each day. Even in the days my voice (writing) hints at rage and frustration it is always cloaked in positivity for the lessons and perspective I hope I am sharing. This Diary Of A Mad Mind is possibly on the internet forever. I do not know how it or I will be remembered, but I know my efforts to improve and help others will never stop.
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#DickGregory, #legacy, #howwillyouberemembered, #life, #death