Ever overthink things? Do you start with a teensy project that quickly morphs into a complete upheaval of your life? This happens way too often for me.
A recent example was when I decided to add a quick one-fits-all closing statement for my signature on emails. It’s not an easy task for a perfectionist. After deciding to eliminate the archaic phrase “Sincerely, Stacey,” little did I know I’d spend the next month obsessed with a replacement.
I wanted something not too formal, but not overly casual. A phrase that summed me up, but also could be used for business letters, notes to my kids school, or a quick blurb to friends and family. I needed the perfect ending to every email for the rest of my life, and yes, I sometimes set my goals extremely high. “Sincerely” had run its course.
I tried several potential replacements: best, best wishes, fondly and joyfully (ugh). I could imagine myself sending a serious or a “with sympathy” type of email and accidentally signing “joyfully.” Major faux pas.
Along my course to create a masterpiece, I pondered what I wanted my legacy to be. I’m not talking about the Nobel Peace Prize or winning an Emmy. I’m feeling the tug to personally make the world a better place for future generations. After all, if I’m spending a lifetime on this planet, I might as well do something worth mentioning. I needed a mission statement. And a mantra.
Wait! Could I add my new mantra as my salutation? Since I turned 50, I’ve been assessing my life journey and filling my bucket list. I’ve already crossed over the peak of Life Mountain, and started my decline on the other side. Still, I’m not ready to sit down and slide on through my bucket list to the base of my hill.
Side note: I actually did this in high school, when my best friend and I trekked up Gothic Mountain in Colorado, just outside of Crested Butte. I was young and didn’t know that when you descend from 14K feet on foot, you need the appropriate footwear. Due to my new Topsiders, I ended up sliding down on my rear for much of it, which led to the trashing of my favorite jeans.
So how was I to extend a salutation that would fit most situations? I went to my customary source of wisdom… Pinterest.
I searched for “wise salutations.” Sadly, a bunch of yoga poses filled my screen. Next I went with “salutation letters” and found some good ones, like: “To death do us part,” “Only you can prevent forest fires,” and my favorite, “Now go and do that voodoo that you do so well.” Funny, but my goal was to save time by using a generic but meaningful statement, ironically while spending hours creating it.
Then my mind went to, “Do you know who else is funny?” Ellen Degeneres. On her daytime television show that I religiously record on my DVR, but rarely take the time to watch, her tagline or closing of her program, she always says, “Be Kind to One Another.” That was it. Kindness needs to be my legacy.
I don’t want to go full-out 1970s tree hugging on you, but if the world’s goal was to choose kindness before every action, the world might become tolerable.
Way to go, Ellen. Once again, you have opened the doors for humans to consider kindness. Ooh, I like that better. “Consider kindness.” Maybe I need to work on this some more.
Stacey Hatton can be found moving piles of stuff from one pile to another when not pondering her life legacy. What’s yours? firstname.lastname@example.org