Written by: Okla Jones
“I Just Hope That You Miss Me A Little When I’m Gone…”
It has always been intriguing the things that we remember. I can recall the first time I saw my favorite documentary,Tupac: Resurrection. It was such a beautiful film, and it was the perfect embodiment of the man’s life; flaws and all. Out of the many quotable phrases in the movie, the one that stuck out to me the most, was about death. ‘Pac spoke about how selfishly many us of view death, and how we fail to comprehend the concept of it. When someone we love transitions into the next life, naturally, we feel sadness. On the other hand, the decedent is now free from pain, sickness, and the trials and tribulations that come with this cruel world that we live in. The sadness that we feel when someone dies, is a testament to the joy that they made us feel while they were alive. It is one’s legacy that withstands the test of time. So, eventually you must ask yourself the question – “What do you want your legacy to be?”
It was the evening of August 5, 2019 that sparked this article. On this particular night, the great African-American novelist, writer and professor, Toni Morrison, passed away at the age of 88. I saw photos, posts and tweets speaking on the positive effects that Ms. Morrison’s work had on an overwhelming amount of people. The same can be said about Nipsey Hussle’s senseless killing earlier this year. Sadly, he lost his life in the same neighborhood that he worked so tirelessly to educate, finance, and ultimately save. His legacy however, influenced countless people on entrepreneurship, cryptocurrency, investing, etc. – things that most of us aren’t taught growing up, especially in the black community. How you live has an immense impact on the world around you, so anytime you make a decision, always keep in mind the positive (and negative) effect that it may have on the future.
In writing this, I also thought about another fallen creative. A personal favorite of mine; that of Robin Williams. The irony of his situation is something that I could never quite wrap my head around, even today. The man who provided the world with so much laughter for several years, suffered with such a deep depression that it eventually caused him to end his own life almost 5 years ago. The perception that he had of himself, was entirely different from the perception of others. His death was a tragedy, and we lost a legend and cultural icon. However, like many people whose life provided such happiness, their death can also have a silver lining. I learned that regardless of what I may be going through in life, someone may or may not have it worse. As my mother always tells me, “Son, we all have our cross to bear.” It is our duty to be cognizant of our actions from time to time because what we may deem as having a bad day, our presence alone may bring joy to the heart of another.
A Nobel Prize. Having a street named after you. Putting a smile on someone’s face. In my opinion, all of these accomplishments are separate, but equal. One would think that there are levels to the previous statements, but what may be a colossal feat in one person’s eyes, could be miniscule to another. You, your loved ones, and the people you affect determines your legacy… nothing more, nothing less. In this age of social media where everyone and everything is connected, we tend to gauge our self-worth by comparing ourselves to others. When in fact, we all have our own lives, our own experiences; our own unique journey. So, if only for a moment, take the time to appreciate all that you have, and all that you are. Most importantly, always remember:
“Life is a marathon, not a race.”