“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I wanted to be an astronaut.

The big unknowns of space fascinated me. I wanted to explore worlds beyond Earth – discover their secrets, advance humanity, and leave behind a legacy amongst the stars. I read all the astrophysics books in the school library, went to NASA space camp, and spent a summer tracking near-Earth asteroids. I always thought that I wanted to be remembered for discovering a habitable planet outside our solar system or furthering the understanding of dark energy.

But as years passed, I’ve come down to earth. I realized that it was actually the little things that others did that I remembered most—my second-grade teacher encouraging me to speak up in class despite my poor English, my friend staying by my side overnight in the emergency room after I broke my ankle despite having an early work meeting the next day, my coworker offering support and advice during challenging moments. Even the smallest gestures can have a meaningful daily impact.

Instead of discovering anything big and spectacular in space, I want to become someone who others can turn to for comfort and reassurance, who can be trusted to offer support and encouragement in moments of uncertainty and doubt, and who challenges them to grow and reach their potential. I want to be remembered for many little, down-to-earth things that I can do for people every day.

— Milly Wang