Some people measure their success by the amount of money they make, what they own, the amount of people they know, the power they have and the list goes on. I however disagree with that. One of my favorite pieces of writing, a prose passage that has been attributed to Emerson*; is a beautiful summation of what success should be.
“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”
When I started NAOYP, my goal was to not only honor his memory; I also wanted to make a difference. Even if it was only for one person, whose life was changed because of my own pain. I didn’t want Jason’s death to be in vain. I’m not internationally known, I don’t have a huge cult following and that’s OK. I make ripples, not waves. When I’m having a shitty day, and really miss Jason, I just need to remind myself of the beautiful messages I get from the people who have found me.
Even though it’ simple; knowing there are people out there who aren’t afraid of my pain helps me get through the rough days.
“I just wanted to stop in while my tears were still fresh, and express to you how your story made me feel. I’ve (as I wipe away tears) been contemplating suicide for many months now. Your story for some reason is the only one EVER to make me feel selfish about what I was thinking. I can hardly see the screen and still I know that what I’m saying is worded accurately because it’s coming for once from my heart. I just really wanted to leave a message thanking you for your words. THANK YOU!”
“I just wanted to say thank you for posting that message and image of hope. I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety disorder for almost 12 years now and some days are tougher than others. I’ve contemplated suicide on occasion and yet i’m still here. I’m going to print off that picture and post it up around my house to remind myself not to give up and to hold onto hope. Thank you for all that you do, it means so much.” In regards to the hope project.
To me, that’s success.