My goals in life have changed over the years. I use to want more than anything to finish my degree, have a high position in my job, have a respectable savings account balance, and own a home. As the years went by and I realized none of these things are important. What really matters is people–all people and how we treat them. Things are not important. Power is only good if it’s used wisely. Money is for using not for having. A degree is a stepping stone and comes with responsibility. Jobs come and go. People fall from position–fast and hard. Savings can disappear in a blink of an eye. Health matters, people matter, and our personal legacy is an illusion. Time erases us and anything we thought was important. Our lives truly are a vapor–smoke that disappears in seconds. What I achieved materially may be remembered by some but only as it was used to better the world at large and people in particular. I can pay a bill this month and here it comes again next month. On the other hand, my words spoken to an individual in line at the store could have changed their life or at least their day. How many people are better for having interacted with me on any given day? How many people have I truly helped? I’m not talking about money or material goods. Whether I give someone money or stuff is not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is real impact, real help, making a real difference. If being with someone as they grieve is what I’m called to do–then that is what I must do. If listening without responding is the mission of the day–then that is what I must do. If admitting I’m helpless to help and I am sorry is what I can do–then that is what I can do. My goal then is to simply be a better person on the inside. To extinguish selfishness, pride, jealousy, and unkindness within myself and to respond to such things in others with as much compassion as I can muster. This is my goal and only with its accomplishment can I consider myself, my day, my year, or my life a success.