“There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ―Nelson Mandela ♥
When I was 4 years old, I learned of a man named Nelson Mandela.
I knew of him not because of what he had done or said. I knew nothing about the political or economical scene or why his name was known in every household. On this day, I was busy thinking about how I shared something special with this person I had never even met. I was watching the news and it seemed as though everyone was celebrating his 75th birthday.
With bright eyes, I ran to the nearest person I could find. I was my father. Excitedly, I told him, “Dad, that guy has a birthday today too! Can we celebrate together?”
I was busy walking around in a purple “princess” dress, talking about Chuck E Cheese and wishing people a happy “unbirthday” while news was breaking that this man would be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and a Liberty Medal for trying to make sure other people might live with the same freedoms I didn’t even realize I had.
For the last 20 years, it has done my heart good to be reminded that I got to share something so personal with this person who will forever be remembered for the good he was able to do. The older I got, the more some of his words and peaceful acts have meant to me. No, he was not perfect. In his life, he made huge mistakes just as he made huge victories and while I may not agree with everything he stood for at every moment in his life, I will always look to him as an example of a life full of big adventures and never settling for less.
I have always thought it an honor to share a birthday with such a controversial, complicated, passionate figure. July 18th is going to be weird this year without hearing of him, but for the next 20 years and beyond, I hope to remember these words and live them with every capability.