It took me a while in life to figure this out. Bruce Lee once said, the key to immortality is living a life worth remembering. I have quoted that hundreds of times, but not sure I got it when I was younger. In fact, in most cases I thought it mean being famous, rich etc. But I was wrong, no matter how I thought about it, and imagined it, it just wasn’t who I was, and who would be immortal.
While working at my first large financial firm, I was taught a lot of things. A class in understanding financing, they also talked about charities. Once a year the company had a donation drive, they weren’t forcing you to donate to their charity, just to any charity. One month a year, they also give you time off to donate time to a charity again of your choice. This was the first time any place I worked that charity was something that was part of a culture. I didn’t get it my first 2-3 years of working there, but as some senior managers led the way, I was able to see more of what it was about. My job was only partially what I needed to be a good employee, I also needed to give back.
Of course the first few year, I gave a little here, and there. Picking many charities, giving a few bucks to each. I was often chasing charities of friends and family. I had magnitude, but not a lot of direction. There were a few things I believed in, and things that have happened in my life that kept popping up, that I did start to take notice. The other thing I noticed, was many of my friends had one or more charities that they were close to them. The spent a bit of time promoting it, I guess I had to figure it out at some point.
Around 2005 my daughter Ariel started playing hockey. There was a person who ran the local hockey program. He was a father figure to all the kids, he watched open skates, talked to parents and by himself managed to continuously grow the program. Many parents thought he was just some old guy, and didn’t know how deep he was into the program. Unfortunately he passed away. Not long after (though after a bit of push from residents) the local ice rink was named after him. It was amazing that one man could have such a lasting affect on a group of parents and kids, and equally amazing that some people were very blind to it whatsoever.
It did hit me, I still had a few charities well many, most charities were ones of friends and it was easy to just give to them. But I did finally come to a realization, that finding the right charity and giving your time to it actually it something that is more important that even you job. My job was interesting, but at the end of it someone would say Larry worked here for some number of years, and give me a retirement cake and a card. A few years later, some people would say I remember him he did this wrong and that wrong, and made a mess out of this. That’s what people say when you are gone, get used to it.
I did come to figure out like my friends and family have done before, that there is a charity they are close to they seem to be appreciative, and in one case, name something after them. For one charity, you can be the world to them. Giving your time and energy to them, and they can give back something that you could never pay for, gratitude. I remember some people who have passed for things they have done, but now for the changes they helped make. Like Josh for Hockey in Newark, Bill for Wounded Warrior, John for Old Bridge Arena. They have become immortal in my eyes, and have definitely lived a life worth remembering. I hope one day someone else remembers me in the same way. So find something that means something to you, and instead of being all over the place, help one charity, and make it your mission that you will be remembered for.