“with just a half-inch of eraser”

19 What I Want to Be Known For

Young children are often asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” High school and college seniors face variations of that question (e.g., “Do you have a job yet? What are you going to do after graduation?”) at the same time as their commencement speakers are congratulating them for earning their degrees and challenging them to do great and wonderful things for themselves and others.

Most of us eventually find our way in the world—some end up in jobs that just barely pay the bills, others find work that fits well enough with their personality and skills that it eventually matures into a personally and financially rewarding career, and a few find that small, sweet spot where both personal and financial rewards are huge and they are also able to make remarkable humanitarian contributions. This continuum is far wider and much less discrete than these few words can describe and is, fortunately, fairly accommodating to people like me who either aren’t an easy fit or who take more than a little while to find their place in the world.

I’m of the opinion that none of us is ever completely grown up, that we are continuously evolving into the persons we are meant to be, and that none of us can completely escape some degree of regret associated with either foolish mistakes or missed opportunities. With that as context, I am challenged by a recent 52 Lists prompt to ponder the traits I want to be known for. These characteristics also are, I believe, the most significant contributors to whatever limited success I’ve been able to achieve. And, rather than trying to describe them myself, I am relying on the words of people who are much more well-spoken and erudite than I will ever be.


Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~Thomas Jefferson

Generosity consists not the sum given, but the manner in which it is bestowed. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Confidence…thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them we cannot live. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch of eraser—in case you thought optimism was dead. ~Robert Brault

Finally, it occurs to me that I should have included perseverance and determination on this list. I came up with the idea of using sticky notes as the focal point for this layout shortly after the challenge was posted in mid-May, but it took a long time and lots of trial-and-error before I was satisfied with the result. I nearly gave up on the idea a couple of times and then, in the last day or two, ended up redoing big pieces of the project before finally deciding it was done as I could manage.

Posted for Week 19 of Moorea Seal’s 52 Lists project, an opportunity for list addicts like me to join up with like-minded bloggers to celebrate their list-keeping tendencies. Fresh prompts are posted each Tuesday—check it out when you can. Product credits available upon request.

6 thoughts on ““with just a half-inch of eraser”

  1. Wanda – you always amaze with your scrapbook creations! I’m glad you stuck with one – the posted notes idea worked our really well. Love the Optimism quote – that is a new one for me.

  2. What a wonderful question this is..you have chosen qualities I admire too and got me thinking about what I would leave behind. Maybe kindness, I hope

  3. Wanda, knowing you as I do, I would have liked to have seen you add Integrity to your list, you could have used “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” A wonderful trait I believe you have. The quote is attributed to Spencer Johnson (I believe he wrote the One Minute Manager). Take care, Bill

    • Bill, thank you for the new-to-me quote…I’ll be adding it to my quotes database for sure!

      As for integrity…I’m not sure I can live up to your perception of me or, if/when I do, that I will always like those truths. Thank you for your continuing confidence in me…

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