Salt of the Earth


"In the future, if you were to be one of the Time 100: Most Influential People in the World, what would you be known for?"

Someone posed this question to me the other day. After thinking about it for a minute, I muttered off something about writing the next Great American Novel. Maybe I'd be the Harper Lee of the Millennial generation, I thought.

But the thing is, I probably won't make it on that list. And I'm okay with that.

Over the past few years, I have realized more and more that my life doesn't have to be magazine-cover worthy in order to be worth living. That's not to say I don't hope to influence many people for good, or leave the world a better place because I lived in it. But if I am just one of the hundreds of millions of good, influential people who never make front page headlines, I don't think I will be disappointed with my life.

In December, I saw a local production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Since I first read it, it has been one of my favorite stories. I love how the narrator introduces us to each character as he or she is going about their daily seemingly insignificant business.

I don't really think it's insignificant, though. I think the foundation of life is made up of those daily tasks. There is bread to be made and babies to be fed and math lessons to be taught and vegetables to be grown.

I am enamored with small American towns and I'm drawn to stories like Our Town and To Kill a Mockingbird* and places like Grover's Corners and Maycomb because I think that's where we see humanity at its purest. I admire the people on Time's list and their accomplishments deserve recognition and praise, but I don't relate to them in the same way I relate to the salt-of-the-Earth kind of humans I grew up with or who I read about in books.

But who knows, maybe I really will write the next Great American Novel. Or maybe, try to live it.

*I could write a whole blog post just about my love for To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh wait, I already did.