Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Circle of Life

Last week I watched The Lion King. Growing up, that was never one of my favorite Disney movies. I always tended to steer towards The Little MermaidBeauty and the Beast, or one of the girly princess movies. As I've grown older though, I think The Lion King may just be at the top of my favorite Disney movie list.

I'm a big Disney fan in general. I've always liked the movies, although I've liked them for different reasons at different stages in my life. When I was younger, I loved watching Disney movies because I was obsessed with princesses. Now, I love watching them for the lessons they teach. Each one weaves in some kind of life lesson that I can easily apply to my own life.

Oh, and another one of my favorite parts of Disney movies? The music. Tarzan has some of the best music by Phil Collins. I also love Elton John's music in The Lion King. I'm pretty both of those albums are on my iPod :)

The Lion King always makes me cry when I watch it. It may sound weird, but I like it when movies make me cry. I think it says a lot when a movie is so powerful that it moves me to tears each time I watch it.

I like the fact that there are so many things you can take away from watching the movie. Lost loved ones never truly leave us. Sometimes you have to face you biggest fears in order to find a more fulfilling life. You can't run from your problems forever. True friends never leave your side.

My favorite quote from the movie though is this one from Rafiki:

I think my favorite element/life lesson from the movie though is the fact that it ends the same way it starts. The "Circle of Life" song plays again as Simba presents his son to the animals of Pride Rock.

While I was watching this, it got me thinking about my own life in 2013.

I find it amazing that a lot of people in the United States (as well as many other countries) live life almost the exact same way. Our timelines are very similar, regardless of whether you live on the east or west coast.

When you're 5 or 6 you have to start school. When you're 14, you graduate grade school and start high school. At 16 you get your driver's license. At 18 you become a legal adult, graduate high school, and start college. In your early to mid-20s you graduate college and start your first job. Most people get married shortly after that and have kids not long after that. Then you raise your kids and witness them reaching each of the milestones you had to go through too. In your 50s or 60s you may become a grandparent. Some years later you'll retire and spend the rest of your life enjoying your family and doing things you haven't had time to do yet.

And then, eventually, you'll pass on to the next life.

The Lion King is right - life is just one big circle that never ends.

I was thinking about how 100 years from now, people probably won't remember my name. My name might appear on my great-great-grandchild's family tree project, but I doubt I'll be remembered for anything famous.

And I'm totally okay with that because I don't need my name to be remembered. I need my influence to be felt.

Think about it for a second. How many people do you know? I'm guessing probably a lot. You know the people you went to grade school and high school with. The people at your church and on your street. You know friends of friends as well as family friends. You know teachers you've had and friends you've met along the way. I'm willing to bet there are hundreds of people who know you by name right now. But in a 100 years these people won't be around anymore.

And maybe that scares you a little, but I like to think of it in a different way.....

What if you have a positive influence on a majority of the people you know? Maybe you show them what it's like to feel loved or special. Maybe you inspire them to try their best at everything. Maybe you encourage them to be themselves. And then what if these people pass on that love and encouragement to their kids or the people they know and come in contact with?

Then maybe you've just influenced many generations to come. Maybe you've made a difference in the life of someone who won't even be born for another 50 years. So who cares if your name isn't remembered? I would much rather have someone 100 years from now be somehow influenced by a positive choice I made than have someone 100 years from now simply remember my name.

The way you make other people feel is what's really important. Sometimes it takes a children's movie like The Lion King to really show you that.

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."

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