A Measure of a Life

Wooden Ruler

Photo Credit: Darren Hester

I met E briefly at a networking event several weeks ago. I finally joined her (and also met her friend B) for coffee this morning.

After I got a mocha and sat down a long, rambling conversation ensued. We started on mundane business stuff, but rapidly progressed to entrepreneurship, education, history, art, teaching, parenting, and personal growth. It was a fun conversation, and two hours melted away faster than an ice cube on a July sidewalk.

Near the end, I apologized because I felt like I had monopolized the conversation. Both E and B said, “No! It was fun listening. You do so much stuff! You only learn these things from talking to people.”

It was flattering, to be sure. But I’m just a guy trying to find his way through life. I haven’t done anything I consider noteworthy. I have not backpacked around Europe, roller-bladed across the United States, become a millionaire by age 40, or skydived naked from an aeroplane. You won’t find a Nobel prize for curing cancer on my résumé.

What have I done?

  • held a job
  • fathered a beautiful daughter
  • made some friends
  • kept an open mind
  • tried to get to know myself

Noteworthy? Not necessarily.

Why, then, did I tell my friends that “I live a rich life.” I have met fascinating people who do noteworthy things, tell good stories, and like to laugh. I appreciate other people and I choose to keep growing.

To me, that is a measure of a good life. What makes your life meaningful?


  1. I think richness is somewhat measured internally. What is rich and beautiful to you might be missed by a less receptive eye. Perhaps that is one of the ways in which we make life rich: We find riches where others have not yet see them, and then we share them in such a way that they can see them. Your “coffee mates” were not annoyed because you dominated the conversation. They were enthralled to encounter someone who had found some much richness in the world.

    That said, what you have done is noteworthy, and I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. I still suspect that you have BIG noteworthy things to do and say. What do you want to do, Todd? What do you want to say?

    Your friend,

    – Austin

    “The Freedom Skater”

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