Who’s gonna tell your story? A reflection on turning 30

I’ve been 30 for a few days now.  So clearly that means I have oodles of wisdom to share with everyone.  😉

Lately I’ve been nonstop jamming to the Hamilton soundtrack.  If you don’t know what Hamilton is, well, get out from under your rock and listen to the music now.  Short story is that it’s the latest Broadway show to take the world by storm.  Its a hip-hop/rap take on the life of Alexander Hamilton.  Musicals are always something I connect with and I can almost always find something that will change my life.

So for Hamilton  it’s the theme of “Who is going to tell your story”.  For Hamilton, his story lives on in his writings and the lasting political structures he helped to create, especially in our financial system.  But at the very end of the show his wife, Eliza (“Best of wives and best of women!”) sings this:

ELIZA:
And when my time is up, have I done enough?

ELIZA:                                                    COMPANY:
Will they tell our story?                             Will they tell your story?

ELIZA:
Oh. Can I show you what I’m proudest of?

COMPANY:
The orphanage

ELIZA:
I established the first private orphanage in New York City

COMPANY:
The orphanage

ELIZA:
I help to raise hundreds of children
I get to see them growing up

COMPANY:
The orphanage

ELIZA:
In their eyes I see you, Alexander
I see you every—

ELIZA AND COMPANY:
Time

ELIZA:
And when my time is up
Have I done enough?                               COMPANY:
Will they tell my story?                              Will they tell your story?

It gets me every time.  She’s not proudest of his writings, or government structures! She’s proudest of the orphanage that she starts and runs in his honor.  She sees him in the eyes of children, her own I’m sure, but also all the orphans that have dreams just like Hamilton had….  that’s the lasting thing.  If we live our lives well, it’s our children who will tell our stories.  And their children.. and their children..on and on.

So for me, on turning 30, I’m ready to move on from the “Who am I?” stage of life.  I’m ready to really start living my story.  Each day I have the chance to show my children my values, to leave indelible impressions on them of who I am and what I stand for.  And hopefully one day, they’ll be telling my story.  I don’t need to tell my story, I just need to live it.

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