Parting Words and Peanut Butter

I certainly didn’t mean to get morbid this week but after pondering some famous quotes by Vidal Sassoon and then this week, losing another legend but in a different field – Donna Summer – I’ve thought seriously about words and their lasting impact. Recently, a good friend had shared with me how something I had said to her a few years ago had stuck with her, and it blew my mind because at the time I said it, it truly was an off-hand remark that while sincere would be regarded by no one else as poignant. But apparently, at that moment that I had caught her in her life, it stuck.

We have the ability to say things, write things, leave some kind of meaningful impression on others every day of our life yet we may not realize it as we’re rushing from here to there, ordering lattes, talking about the results of “The Voice” and simply making small chit-chat.

So this week, I wanted you to set a few moments aside to get serious and really contemplate what you want your lasting impression to be. Your line of work, background, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic standing, age, marital status – completely irrelevant. Your words, however – quite relevant. I believe the question was… What long-lasting words of wisdom do you wish to impart to the universe?

Did you come up with your words? I tried not to dwell too long and hard on this one because I wanted it to be as authentic and imperfect as I hope to be for every remaining day of my life. So here it goes…warts and all.

I want people to recognize every day they’re alive that they are part of a network – much bigger than any religion, government or social media platform can ever quantify. Human beings. Much the same way many of us will walk into a grocery store and see a shelf of peanut butters, we are all the same and all different. Some of us are better for you to indulge in than others, and some are out to get ya. Some taste so damn good but the sacrifice with fat and calories, ohmigosh, don’t even look at the numbers – just savor and enjoy, and forget about it until tomorrow.

Others on the shelf, well, they have great intentions – everything in it, pure, natural, healthful, but you sacrifice taste and the pleasure of its company. Some shoppers have to step away from the peanut butter shelf altogether with potential harm looming – peanut or egg allergies, dairy or gluten issues, an addiction or fear of something that tastes so sinfully rich and creamy and its inevitable path to the chocolate aisle next.

When you get to the checkout counter and it’s time to leave the store, it’s all just peanut butter. Different labels, different levels of taste, texture and quality. Different cost and brand recognition. But all simply peanut butter. And you know what? If you want to get the Skippy, even though maybe I’m not a big fan of its taste or if you, over there, in the lemon polka-dot sundress, insist on buying Jif even though I don’t particularly find the label appealing, I’m not going to hold that against you, after all it’s just one decision you’ve made that I haven’t. He likes Skippy, she likes Jif, and that loopy fella over there can’t get enough Nutella, while I still prefer my reduced-fat creamy Peter Pan.

We all have the power to choose and make our own decisions. I don’t like or dislike you any more or less. They’re just choices we make. We can agree to agree sometimes and to disagree other times.

It doesn’t make you any less intelligent to me, any less likable to me, any less worthy to me.

There’s plenty of peanut butter choices for everybody and if you want Skippy today and change your mind later and decide that Jif is where it’s at, I’ll understand that, too. Because with choices and decisions, comes the right to decide that you chose wrong and to choose differently next time.

Okay, enough with the peanut butter, I know. I’m getting hungry just writing about it. If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a big fan of the human species and a little thing called free will. I dig the animals, too. Enough to refrain from eating most of them.

My wish for the universe is this: that we could harness the intelligence, courage and diligence to invest as much energy in exploring what we truly want out of this life as we do in dashing others’ efforts to do so.

We should celebrate and honor every moment we have –

…listen as much as speak.

…play as much as achieve.

…seek as much as find.

…learn as much as teach.

…give as much as take.

…love as much as hate.

And with that, I’m feeling the need to go hug somebody and make them a PB& J sandwich. Now go forth and choose your words wisely. And feel free to make your lasting impression here and share your chosen words here, in the comments. You just never know how your words might touch someone else or maybe even change a life. So fire away!

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
Chris

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