“For each of us, eventually whether we’re ready or not, someday it will come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived at the end. It won’t matter if you’re beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days will be measured? What will matter is not what you’ve bought but what you’ve built, not what you got but what you gave. What will matter is not your success but your significance. What will matter is not what you’ve learned but what you’ve taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, and sacrifice that enriched and empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone. What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live with those who love you. A life lived that matters is not of circumstance but of choice.”