by Amy S. Allen
Age 56. Carthage, NC
For so long l have wondered what l could have done with my life had l been focused and disciplined. I came from an upper middle class home, went to private school and college and had every opportunity in life to do something great. I am above average intelligence and, as my mother used to say, l could do anything l wanted if I would stick to it and work hard. I never lived up to my potential, and this always bothered me. I could have, should have and would have been someone noteworthy in my community. But instead, l was a mother to a wonderful child and found great fulfillment in motherhood. After my son went away to college, I wondered what l was going to do with my time.
And that is all I needed to know that I was doing the right things.
I have always been a caring individual and very sensitive to the plight of others. I enjoyed visiting my elderly friends and seeing their faces light up when l stopped by for a chat. One day, after one of my visits, it struck me that l was doing what l was meant to do, and that was, quite simply, to spread love to people that needed it most. I didn’t need to do big things in life. I took to heart Ralph Waldo Emerson’s definition of what it was to be successful, and realized that l had made more than one person’s life easier. This knowledge makes me smile and feel good about my contribution to society. I can hear my father’s voice telling me that he was proud of me, and the fact that l had such a big sympathetic heart. And that is all l needed to know that I was doing the right things.