What will they say about you?

Hollywood and Beverly Hills, 90210, fans are reeling after the shocking sudden death of Luke Perry yesterday. Perry, as most of you probably already know, became famous for his role as teen heartthrob Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 back in the early 1990s. He was my fave on the show; I was always the Luke type, rather than the Brandon type. Still.

What you may not know is that Perry was a consummate nice guy, despite the good looks, and early fame and fortune. Stories describing Luke Perry’s “quiet kindness” are surfacing all over social media. He was a great neighbor, a humanitarian and animal lover, and a man who managed to traverse the incredible highs of fame with his humility and sanity still in tact. Reading all the wonderful things people who knew or met Perry wrote prompted me to think: What will people say about me when I’m gone?

I’m sure it won’t all be good. Although I try very hard to treat others the way I would like to be treated, when someone I trust hurts me repeatedly, I find it very hard to forgive over and over again. I’m working on that. I tend to forgive but excommunicate people from my life, more out of self-protection than anything else. I’m still working on redirecting negativity or pain in a way that isn’t injurious to others. Or to myself.

At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, when we strip away job titles, material possessions, looks, and bank account balances, all we have is our actions and our word. I’m realizing this more and more in my middle age — that all these things we think we need and want are actually the most insignificant aspects of our human existence in this life. All that really matters is how well we prevail over the tribulations of life — with patience and love.

Every day is a chance to write your life story. To turn a catastrophe into a catalyst. To help, to be a friend, to be kind to people and animals. You may think that small gestures go unnoticed, but they do not. People see, but more important, they feel. Your intentions are always being broadcast, without a word spoken.

So I ask: What will they say about you when you are gone?

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