We were waiting outside the Vatican for the tour guide to take us inside the magnificent city. It was hot and humid. (That’s one complaint you don’t often hear from an Indian overseas, we’re do damn used to temperatures 40 and above.) I was getting impatient and was seriously questioning my decision visit the city in the first place.
Just about that time I noticed three teenagers from another tourist group on my right stepping out with a cloth banner. They turned around so everyone could read the words and hear the say, “Live Your Story.” I didn’t have a context to what was going on. I asked the kids but they didn’t speak English. But we had another lady from this other group who was yelling, “you don’t know what it means yet. You don’t know what it means yet…”
There was a lot going on at that moment and it all seemed so confusing. I had a lot of questions none of which were going to be answered. The kids didn’t know (or perhaps couldn’t explain what they were really doing) and the lazy was a bit too edgy and unwelcoming. But her words kept lingering in my head for the next three hours I roamed around the Vatican and snapped a ton of pictures.
Obviously, the kids were a little too young to actually understand the significance of living their stories. And perhaps, that’s exactly why the lady reacted. “What the hell do they know about living their story?” is a common response I expect from our elders. Even if they aren’t any wiser.
But I could tell this lady knew living one’s story isn’t about putting out slogans on banners, placards and marching on the streets in protest or celebration. Because it is hard. So much easier said than done. Living one’s story is an offbeat path preferred by either the craziest among us or the ones who’re truly committed to find the true meaning of life.
Even the most celebrated poster personalities don’t have the courage to live their stories. Because it is hard but more importantly, there’s no appreciation or value placed on living one’s true story. There is, however, a lot to gain (in terms of fame and glory) when you live a story that everyone else loves. You know the stories about overnight millionaires or the dude who never stopped hustling or the one’s startup got through the latest round of a zillion-dollar funding.
Now, these are success stories worth appreciating and sharing. But that’s not my story. That’s not your story either. I believe living your story is not about the material successes we end up accomplishing. It’s about the journey to accomplish a successful life, which is devoid of the “stuff” and/or the “prizes” that we win. It’s about legacy. And that, my friends, is hard.
You would know you’ve truly lived your story when others live to tell you story.