Since moving here, my dreams have been haunted by ghosts of the past. It sounds a little dramatic but for some reason, people from different times and places in my life have been showing up pretty frequently at night. I'm tempted to psychoanalyze and figure out why this is happening and why certain people who I haven't thought of for years are suddenly showing up to help me bake cookies for my dog's birthday or competing against me in a surfing contest during a hurricane. By the way, I don't have a dog, know how to surf or have any deep fear of natural disasters. Man, dreams are weird!
Rather than delve into the innermost recesses of my psyche, I have been reflecting on the fact that my life has crossed paths with an awful lot of people in thirty-three years. These dreams make me realize that every friend, every classmate, every acquaintance, every neighbor has made a kind of indelible imprint on my life. And likewise, I have made some impression on every person I've known.
Imagine if we could really see these impressions, like stamps or tattoos on our bodies. We'd all be covered in the unique signatures of those we've known. Some might be tiny little stamps, like a nice (or mean) old neighbor lady who lived down the street. Some would be big John Hancock-like scrawls from the important figures of our lives- parents and siblings, childhood best friends, first loves, college roommates.
Looking back, I can only wonder what kind of mark I have made in people's lives but going forward I'm determined to be more aware that everything I do is part of the impression I leave in someone's life. The little things do matter because they are what make up the big things. Every smile and kind word but also every snub and snide remark make up my signature. Thirty years from now when someone runs their fingers over that mark, I want the memories to bring a smile to their face.