Beyond First Impressions

The world is a really big place, but I make a difference and so do you. Each of us—whether we want to, or not—leave an impression.

The deciduous leaves have all but disappeared in our neck of the woods. And while this leaf impressed me because of it’s tremendous size…

Giant leaf - 2

…this leaf, though much smaller, left a longer lasting impression.

Leaf impression

My goal is to leave the slightest footprint on the planet, while at the same time making a lasting impression on its inhabitants—one that is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing.”

“People who strive for something significant, whether it’s learning a new craft or raising moral children, are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations,” says psychologist Ed Diener. “As humans, we actually require a sense of meaning to thrive.”

Have you defined the impression you want to leave?


56 thoughts on “Beyond First Impressions

  1. I want to leave the impression that nature is the source of all joy, connecting to nature can teach us how life can flow so easily while temperance to the world we are living in!

  2. The holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, is about how one person makes a difference–an impression–on those around him or her. Sometimes we have no idea how we’ve affected others, for good or bad. For those I know, my loved ones, I try to be the best person I can be, and I assume I’ve made an impression. I think I’ve touched others on occasion with my writing. You have certainly made an impression, Laurie!

  3. My lasting impression is the two young men I am raising to be gentlemen. I realize the way we treat them will be the way their world is shaped and how they will treat other people. When I hear them say thank you and your welcome to each other My heart sings.

  4. Your first responder said it so eloquently: “You have certainly made an indelible impression on your readers, also your photography speaks volumes!” I like especially the photo with your hand print and the large leaf.

    I have been carrying a red maple leaf like your smaller impression in my Bible for years now. It’s turning darker and becoming more brittle as it ages, but it reminds me of the tree outside my bedroom window of my childhood home sending a wave of nostalgia over me when whenever I page by it.

    Like you, I am a life-long learner hoping to contribute something significant to the next generation through my writing and by my example. I love it when I see glimpses of good behavior in our grand-children.

    • Marian — I love that you keep a brittle-with-age maple leaf tucked in well-worn pages of your Bible. Thank you for sharing its heartwarming significance. An ardent follower of your blog, I’ve learned much from your contributions. Thank you!

    • FuriousCuriousCancerSurvivor — Having visited your blog, I know that the “trouble” you make is in the form of helping people become aware, for which I thank you. (Pssst, I’ve never met a life path 8 I didn’t like) 🙂

  5. Decades ago I heard the term “animating essence.” I hope to be a person that provides a positive spark. I am well aware that we (as far as I know) have one opportunity to walk this path. Whether I am coaching leaders or others, working on creative projects or issues of concern, spending time with family especially nieces and nephews and friends, or people I meet along my daily travels, I aspire to affirm and animate others, open up possibilities, alleviate suffering, challenge myself, and bring peace and compassion with me as companions on the way. “Aspire to” is the key term. I’m no saint. Yet by this aspiration I agree with you life has more meaning!

  6. You definitely have made an impression on me, as I always look forward to your post on a Tuesday. As for myself, I have always lived by the principle ‘do onto others as you would have done on yourself’: treating other people with respect is a good place to start and this is what I hope I have passed on to my son and my young students.

    • Fatima — I oh-so-agree with you! RESPECT and COMMUNICATION (and respectful communication) are the mainstay of a healthy society. Your sons and students are fortunate to have you in their lives 🙂

  7. Beautiful, Laurie. My favorite words are about you: “my goal is to leave the slightest footprint on the planet, while at the same time making a lasting impression on its inhabitants—one that is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing.” You are succeeding in that goal!

    My mission statement: “to prepare for the hour of my death one good day at a time. And to help others do the same” serves a similar purpose in my life.

    • Shirley — I’ve learned oh-so-much from you as you prepare for the hour of your death one good day at a time. As you write and reminisce about the journey, it serves to help me (and the rest of your readers) wrap our heads and hearts that all-important life event. At 58, I’m increasingly aware that I have much more time in the rearview mirror than I do through the windshield 🙂

  8. Laurie, your comments are always so meaningful and thought-provoking. Sometimes I feel like you are reading my mind. I guess it’s that your comments are universally applicable to all of us. Thank you!

  9. I simply love they way you observe life. It is inspiring and hopeful and I am so glad to know you.. Please keep the positivity coming 🙂 Pam Chris’s BFF

  10. As always your words sing to me and the responsibility that we all need to take to leave this planet better off than when we arrived. These are challenging times but can all contribute our laughter and light. Thanks for this lovely post, Laurie.

    • Joan — I’m glad this post resonated with you. Your comment makes me think of what my mom used to say to me: “Laurie, be a pleasure wherever you go, not whenever you go.” Even though she said it in jest (I think!), it’s caused me to make an effort to leave a place better than when I found it.

  11. The answer to your question changes often for me as I change and grow. I think my overall impression is kindness. This is not to be confused with being passive. I have a big voice.

  12. Laurie what an appropriate question for me today. I am clear about how I want to live each day but have given little to no thought about what kind of impression I want to leave behind. I am going to have to think more about this to be able to answer. How interesting that one know exactly how they want to live their life and not have consider the impression that will be left behind for others!

  13. Hi Laurie
    You’ve read enough of my writings to have a fairly strong impression of what my aspirations are.

    I would like not to leave – at least not for a few thousand years, and then come back to visit periodically (every hundred thousand years or so).

    My plan, is to have in place systems of relationship that will allow potentially long lived individuals to actually live a very long time. That means risk profiles in general society that are a close approximation to zero.

    I want a world where we have created and distributed automated systems to every person on the planet that give them personal control over energy and food production, sanitation, water, safe housing, safe travel, communications, personalised healthcare and education. That requires a social environment that will support anyone in doing whatever they responsibly choose, where responsibility in this sense means taking reasonable care and actions to mitigate any adverse effects of one’s actions (including inaction) on the life and liberty of others.

    It is a little over 41 years since it became obvious to me that extending lifespans indefinitely was a biological possibility. I was in a minority of 1 amongst those I knew at that time. Now that opinion is mainstream, and billions of dollars are being allocated to the last stage of the process of making it happen.

    Development of appropriate social, political and technical institutions is still lagging, and it is becoming a more common conversation, though I am still very much a minority voice.

    I don’t know if I will live to see it happen, and it is my firm desire to do so, and to live out the remainder of eternity in a body that has a biological age of about 20, and is enhanced in an ever expanding set of ways.
    Direct neural interface to communities of others, and to stores of information and means of computation seem like very desirable enhancements to me. And I would want to be very confident that I retained ultimate control of the interface, so that I remained as a free individual, and did not become a slave to some greater entity. The definition of that boundary of freedom is one of the most interesting enquiries I have ever embarked upon, and one that seems without end.

    So yeah – empowered individuals, working cooperatively to ensure the life and freedom of all – self and others.

  14. Laurie, as you put it so well, my intention is to live lightly on the Earth, and the impression I’d want to leave is simply to depart from it, leaving it better than I found it.

  15. What a huge leaf . I went for a walk earlier this year and found a huge mushroom , I was captivated by it .
    The lasting impression I would like to leave is for someone to discover my bags and box of endless stories and poems …REALLY enjoy them and for my words to influence them to write their own beautiful stories .

  16. That leaf is ginormous! At this juncture of my life if it were to end tomorrow I would hope some guy that had just got a blindsided divorce thrown at him and a nasty custody battle to boot would find my blog and take solace. That would be the lasting impression I would want to leave, if I can help one person overcome the stress that is divorce then mission accomplished!

  17. Oh boy this could take pages to list! But I will narrow it down…My children are my legacy and I hope to impress upon them how important it is to keep God, Family and Faith as their top priorities and always strive to contribute nothing but positive into this world. I wish to share with them the God given talent of counseling that was passed onto me by my father to help others in this world when they seek your advice. Another great post Laurie!! Tina

  18. I’ve recently been given the opportunity to have some in-depth conversations with my grown sons, and I not only thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I couldn’t help wondering if I said everything I needed to say. I want to be sure the words they hear from me pretty much only say one thing … “I won’t ever stop loving you, and that’s something you can count on.” When I start from that place, the rest of the words come a bit easier.

    I think, (although the jury is still deliberating on this one), that I want to be remembered as someone who knew how to share love, without fear, and without loopholes. It is sad how our fears keep us from moving forward, even if that sometimes means it keep us from moving in a very positive direction. This time of year reminds me that love matters.

    • Ntexas99 — ““I won’t ever stop loving you, and that’s something you can count on.”

      If everyone in the world received that same message from their own parents, the world would be a remarkably different place!

      My hat is off to YOU for delivering that heartfelt message to your sons.

  19. Yes I do believe I have defined it. it has something to do with staying teh course and sticking with what you believe. Some stances are popular and some are note, but one must take their own path, not one that conforms to others.

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