A few blocks from my house is a street named Legacy and as I stopped at a red light on the corner of Independence and Legacy, I thought to myself “What is to be my legacy and what does it have to do with my independence?” I had always prided myself in my independence. I liked most people but I made sure I didn’t need people. I was proud of that. I had been hurt and frustrated and disillusioned with many people in the past and I choose independence. From that lofty perch I could rise above ever depending on people. As I stared at the red light waiting for the go ahead green, I asked myself “Is my independence my legacy?”

The light turned green and I made a left onto Legacy. As I drove I kept pondering the question. I was raised in a time when independence was the pinnacle of accomplishments. But now I was asking that sacred cow whether it was true or was it all cow patties? The surprising answer was that it was cow patties!! Independence is a farce. I was wearing my independence like some kind of merit badge when, truth be told, it was just an escape from being vulnerable. Independence is overrated and true strength is underrated. I realized then that it takes a lot more strength to deal with other people and to take your chances on being hurt but that’s where the real growth is. You can’t truly help people on a lofty perch because you are usually the only one there. People can’t talk to you, love you, feel your love or ask you for help if you are way up there.

It was more than a drive that day. It was a change in how I saw me. From then on, I told myself, I would focus on my similarities to others and not my differences. I would focus on engaging with others and not being aloof. I would put myself out there and if I got frustrated, I’d get over it but I would live and I would help. And when the time came my legacy would be “Yeah, he was open and he loved and he helped”. Everything else is just cow patties.

(C) 2011 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


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