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Filtering by Tag: value

How do you measure a life?

Jamieson Van Loan

Following up on my rant last week on the Carrie Mae Weems performance, she also spoke about the elusive question: how do you measure a life? What a grand question. One that I have yet to fully digest. Her performance was in respect to the constant violence and murders of people of color and marginalized ethnic groups. The sadness and tragedy surrounding the inequality and power struggle of these groups and heinous acts towards them, begs the question: how do you calculate the value of a life?

Is it in years? In laughter? By the number of times your kids hugged you? By your skin tone? Is it based on your career growth? Your promotions? By how much money you made? By how much money you spent? By the amount of friends you made? By the amount of friends you lost? By your material objects? By the dreams you had? By your goals achieved? By the cars or houses you can afford to buy? By the moments gone by or the moments to come? By the memories you're in? By the experiences you missed out on? By the chances you took? By the times you've woken up on the good side of the bed? By the moments of pure happiness? By the not-so-great days? By the doors that opened and closed? By the countries you traveled? By the sights you've seen? By the amount of times you've loved and lost? By your resilience and strength? By your people in your tribe? By your growth?

How do you measure a life?

There are no right or wrong answers, I realized. The way we value our lives and the lives around us are intrinsic to our upbringing and our own personal core values. For me, my core values fall under, give or take, four categories: my personal relationships, my spirituality, my career and my social responsibilities. And really, the most important to me are the personal relationships or the people who love and support me and vice versa. Therefore I would measure my life by how many times we positively reacted around each, our beautiful (and maybe not so beautiful) memories we have made, our laughter, our tears, our hopes, our joys, the stories and secrets we shared and, above all, the love we all shared. I will measure my life by the amount of love that flowed through and around it. 

What will you measure yours in? If we are the sum of our parts, what will your parts be and how will they hold weight in your life? 

Miss Weems made the valid point that however you choose to measure your life, it IS of value and the same respect you hold for your own life, must be paid to others. 

This is all but a scratch on a very thick surface. How you choose to measure your life, to splash it with colors and beauty and claim it as your own, is entirely up to you. And this measurement is fluid. There are no set guidelines or units to measure by. It is not meant to be done in contrast to other lives. It is a way to take stock of your current situation and lay value to your past and hopeful future. It is a way to stay keenly aware of what is happening in your own life but to also stay present to what is happening in the world very clearly outside all of our doors. 

Please know this: each breath you take, each moment that you get to live and experience another day is a freakin' blessing. Do not take your fortuitous awakening each morning as anything but glorious. Because however or whatever you choose to measure your life by, you are still here. 

Live life without measure and love immeasurably.

Jamieson xo