From early childhood, my parents instilled in me the importance of education. If you are not educated, you will not get a job and you will not be of value. I grew up feeling that my value is derived from good grades and later from a good paying job.
Other metrics of value were added to my own from what I learned over the years and from friends and family: If you are not thin, you will have a hard time finding love. If you don’t have a lot of money, you won’t be able to impact the world. If you don’t pay taxes, you are a burden to society. And so on.
Much later in life when I decided to leave my career behind and explore what life had in store for me, I realized that the metrics of value in our society are flawed. They are subjective and materialistic. I was the same person with or without my career and qualifications.
The contributions that we place most value on are the ones we can measure with money, like: building hospitals and schools or feeding thousands of starving children. There is nothing wrong with that and it’s admirable. But to think that the rest of humanity does not have an impact is false—plain and simple.
“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito.” ~Author Unknown
Our collective existence is what shapes our experiences. There are so many variables but none of which should create more value to a human life than others. Life in and of itself is all the validation we need.
Your material contribution
If we want to look at our lives from a materialistic and physical contribution standpoint, why not consider the following?
If you did not exist,
- your parents would spend less money
- the doctor and nurses who helped bring you to this world would not have been paid
- the retailers selling your food, clothing and toys would’ve earned less.
- throughout the years, doctors and clinics would’ve earned less because they didn’t treat you
- less books would be bought or borrowed and read
- less movies would be enjoyed, less games played or watched
- all the teachers you had in your schools would be compensated less. Same with college professors
- less cars would be bought, less distance traveled, less money spent on interests and life necessites.
- less food would be enjoyed, less candy consumed, less fun had
- less things would be broken, less things fixed
- less mess made, less cleanup
- less school fundraising cookies and candy bars sold, less received
- less small charitable work would be done, or less accepted from charity
- your parents would have less security because you wouldn’t be around to care for them as they age.
How about all the not so material contributions?
If you didn’t exist,
- your parents would not have experienced all the joy you’ve given them
- your siblings and friends lives would never be the same without you
- someone would’ve missed out on loving you
- someone would’ve missed out on being loved by you
- someone would’ve not been your son or daughter or niece or nephew
- someone would miss out on consoling you and being your best friend
- someone would not have a best friend who was there for them
- some pet would miss out on your love and kindness
- there would be less laughter in this world
- there would be less tears in this world
- the world would miss out on you singing in the shower
- the world will not hear the music you wanted to play or the words you wanted to say
- there will be no memories of you and how you were cherished
- there would be less fun to be had, less drama to be experienced
- there would be less joy and pain
- there would be less beauty expressed in your perfection and imperfection.
Add all of the contributions mentioned above, and then some, multiply your total by 6 billion people, and we have a world.
Your value is in being and all that comes with it.
Without you, life will be missing a piece, a dance…an expression.
We all will be forgotten one day after we are gone…
life will move on…
life will always be… but it won’t be the same.
Photo courtesy of impious