Be Lit...Or Not, the Choice is Yours
I'm lucky enough to live just a few short blocks from my job. This means my day is rather habitual as I leave the house at 8:50am passing by the same security officer at the bank, the same crowded bagel shop, the same people waiting for the bus, and at times the same man asking me for money. Times like this, I wish I had dollars to spare anytime he asked but I don't. On days when my pockets are empty of spare coins or paper bills, I turn to him with a smile and say, "sorry, I don't have anything today".
Most times he just tells me to think of him for the next time and we part ways. Last week he left me with a few parting words that I was left to ponder on.
Don't blow your candles out.
I have no clue why he said it and to be honest, not even 100 percent what he meant when he said them. What I do know is that I needed them on that day even though I hadn't realized that before that one moment.
Like others of my generation, I constantly struggle with dreams too big for my mind. I toy with ideas that seem straight from a fantasy and sometimes unattainable. I visualize a future filled with everything I've prayed for only to bring myself back to reality seconds later. I am in a constant cycle of trying to create the future I desire without stepping on anyone's toes. That being said, I blow my candles out.
I don't share my ideas. I don't verbally wish upon the stars in the hazy DC sky. I put myself down before someone has the chance. I let other people take credit for my bright ideas. I blow my candles out so others can feel comfortable. I blow my candles out so others can have a slice of my cake. Have you ever been this person? Have you ever blown your candles out too prematurely in order for others to get a piece of what is rightfully yours?
As a young idealist, I am consistently amazed with the amazing things people are doing. The ideas that have transformed into multi-million dollar businesses or organizations that impact communities always leave me wanting more. For a moment, I'll say wow that could have been me only to later engage myself in a conversation as why it isn't me. I'm not talented enough. I don't work hard enough. The list goes on.
This man had failed to realized what day I was having when he said these words to me. Every now and then, I start to feel defeated. I start to reflect on my life and all I want to do but have yet accomplished. I start to think about goals I had set and my lack of perceived success. On this day in particular, I was thinking about this blog. I was wondering if people were reading, if people enjoyed the content, and if it was worth the $20 a month to keep it running. I was in the process of blowing out my own candles before I had even had a chance to celebrate. I was in the process of blowing my candles out before I had the opportunity to see just how sweet this process it.
Later that evening, I received a random message from someone saying they loved reading my blogs and having a chance to live vicariously through me. It was in this moment and every similar moment, that I'm reminded that anything we set out to do is a process. It reignites my candles that had slowly started to dim within my own spirit. It is a cycle of stages that will make you want to quit and throw in the towel. Only those who remain steadfast in their plans are so lucky to be able to blow out their candles at just the right time and not a moment sooner.
Have you ever dimmed your light for others to shine a bit brighter?