“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
My grandmother was born in a remote village at the dawn of the twentieth century. Married in her late teens, she was widowed in her early twenties, with two young sons. She remarried a widower with seven children, taking on this responsibility in a world of subsistence agriculture. She bore four more, a fifth who died within two months, and lastly my father. In her later years one eye was occluded by a cataract; the second was blinded by a cow's errant horn. She walked barefoot, wore a plain white garment, lived much of her days in a one-room house. And in her old age she was asked if she had ever experienced anything unbearable in her life. Her answer was immediate, and unequivocal: Nothing at all.

So I will reflect, and find joy in such simplicity. I will recognize that the unheralded and seemingly ordinary is often far more worthy than the celebrated. I will test the hypothesis that living without formal power has greater potential for changing the world than the grasping that often defines us. I will care less about temporal things and rely more on daily grace, because it is sufficient. If I am strong enough I will bear hardships ungrudgingly, acknowledging that mine have always been trivial. I will seek the elemental beauty in life and orient myself accordingly, because I know it can be done.

Somehow, some way, I will live worthy of this heritage.

— Jason George