I have seen several versions of the below poem claimed by various authors. I don’t know who wrote the original, but I sorta like this version. I think it sort of puts into perspective how we live our lives and what’s important about living.
For each of us, it will one day come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will be passed to someone else.
Your fame, your wealth and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or owed.
Your grudges, frustrations and jealousy will finally disappear.
So to your hopes, ambitions, plans and to do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It will not matter where you came from, or what side of the tracks you lived.
At the end it won’t matter if you are beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built.
Not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is that every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that empowered enriched or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those that learned to love from you.
A life lived that matters is not of circumstance but of choice.