There is a poem/story that came to light within the last ten years. Maybe longer, but that’s not the point. The poem is called “The Dash” and it can be found online. Because of copyright laws, I’m not including it, but do go and read it.
I don’t remember where I heard the poem in its entirety, but I do remember hearing about my dash. At first, I wondered if I was just so old, I didn’t know what this referred to, so I tried Urban Dictionary, which really didn’t help.
Being curious, I tried Youtube. I found many references with video and the words. And honestly, many of them sounded like a piece you would see at a funeral. (Note: Please don’t play something like that at my funeral!) But the message is one that we should be sharing with others long before they are even close to death.
Think about a gravestone, headstone, tombstone, whatever you choose to call it. Get a picture in your head. What do you see? A name, yes. Maybe a picture of the person or something symbolic. And then the date of their birth and the date of their death.
But the most important part is the dash between the date of the person's birth and the person's death. That’s when the living happened. That's when they were able to make a difference and impact the world. That’s when they had fun, experienced struggles, and gained great wisdom.
The dash wasn’t about the cars they bought, the college they went to, the degrees they earned. The dash was about the people they loved, the hours they spent making life better for others, and how they spent the hours between the two dates.
As I think about this, I wonder, have I lived my dash to my fullest. Have I loved without hesitation, have I inspired others, have I gained wisdom to share with others? Have I forgiven others, have I treated everyone with respect? Have I apologized? Have I had fun?
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” And I would say, the most important period of your life is the dash.
According to Brendon Burchard, “A meaningful life is just the sum of meaningful moments. Live in every moment.”
Live your dash to the fullest.