"Footprints in the Sands of Time"

Education & Training

Footprints in the Sand

I have been a bit under the weather lately.  To recuperate, I was convalescing over the weekend with a good, if obscure book, called Beyond Life by James Branch Cabell.  In reading it, I came across the following quote, which I found worthwhile enough to share:

"...And while it is well enough to leave footprints in the sands of time, it is even more important to make sure they point in a commendable direction."

It's such a simple premise, and yet perhaps because of the imagery, it resonated with me.  The internet, social media, and cable television- including "reality television"- have really lowered the bar for what it takes to leave a mark for "posterity."  Commerce has seen such a rise in the importance of search engine optimization that marketing now requires an almost constant presence- And many marketers have come to live by the motto, "Any press is good press."

But, at some point, when the frenzy dies down and the advertising dust settles, there will necessarily be a period of subjective reflection.  At some point, whether we are movie stars or real estate bloggers, "posterity" will look at our body of work and decide if it was "good" or "bad," both aesthetically and morally.

James Branch Cabell wrote Beyond Life in 1919, and his quote referred to playwrights and novelists.  Obviously there was no internet (there were no computers!).  Even movies weren't yet a major social factor- The first Academy Awards weren't held until 1929.  So, Cabell couldn't have contemplated Google, Twitter, YouTube, or any of the many, many ways in which almost every living person can now "leave footprints in the sands of time."

In 2013, however, we can.  There are other legacies we'll leave, of course: children, friends, donations, volunteering.  But "posterity" may only ever see whatever data we've left on the internet.  My great-great-great-grandchildren may know more about me from my Stewart Title blog posts than from any other achievement in my life.  That's a sobering thought!  I can only hope they find such "footprints" "point in a commendable direction."  :)

Comments (32)

Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks Andrew, it is so important to keep our tracks heading in the right direction and leave a legacy of good footprints.

Mar 20, 2013 08:47 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Solomon: Thank you- I do feel better now!  :)

Bob: Thank you, I agree!  :)

Mar 20, 2013 10:21 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Yes, hopefully we are leading others in the right direction, not astray.

Mar 21, 2013 04:28 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mar 23, 2013 11:49 AM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Andrew.. you post is telling of your character .I do think a lot about my own legacy that I will leave for my kids. .

Mar 23, 2013 10:30 PM
Steven Nickens
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers - Wailea, HI
R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii

Well said, here is my quote today is a good day make it count.

Mar 23, 2013 10:36 PM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

As a father and now a grandfather I am acutely aware of which direction my footprints point every day! 

Mar 23, 2013 10:38 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Andrew,

I came over from Kathy's post on her "Ah-ha" moments for the week and she was so right to include your post. The quote is something you shared that has got many of us pondering..thanks for an enlightening message. Hope your feeling better.

Mar 23, 2013 10:58 PM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Michelle: I hope so too!  :)

Kathy: Thank you- I am honored!  :)

Fernando: Thank you- I think all parents are similar that way!  :)

Steven: Thanks- I like your quote, too!  :)

Gary: That is indeed a good thing!  :)

Dorie: Thank you!  I am feeling better, too, just down to the occasional cough.  :)

Mar 23, 2013 11:37 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I saw this on Kathy's weekly round up/summary...glad she posted it! Thanks for sharing!

Mar 24, 2013 12:19 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Thank you for a suggested reading Andrew.  My recent authors are all products of The Gilded Age.

Mar 24, 2013 02:41 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Kristin: You're welcome- Thank you for the feedback!  :)

Kevin: I got my copy used on Amazon- If you read it, I hope you enjoy it!

Mar 24, 2013 03:26 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@Properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Andrew! I included this post in Last Week’s Favorites.  Please drop by and check it out, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Mar 24, 2013 04:18 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Patricia: Thank you!  I will check it out- Enjoy the rest of your weekend, also!  :)

Mar 24, 2013 06:31 AM
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

Great post!  Your post reminds me of something the late Jim Rohn said and that is to leave a legacy of a journal.   A journal is where you write down the words that last, that leave a legacy that change the world.

Now not every blog is going to be earth shatteringly meaningful, but just maybe one or two will be about that which is eternal.  Thanks for the reminder. 

Mar 24, 2013 08:42 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Beverly: Jim Rohn had some great quotes, too- Thanks for the comment!  :)

Erica: Thank you!  West Branch is a couple hours north of Troy.  Troy is a suburb of Detroit.  I've driven through West Branch before, though- it's a nice little place!  :)

Mar 24, 2013 10:36 AM
Kim Logan
Kim Logan - Keller Williams Lake Oconee Realty

Great post!   When I first saw the title of the blog, it made me think immediately of the "footprints in the sand" bible lesson.....

Mar 24, 2013 01:20 PM
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Funny, you had to put in brackets that there were no computers. A few more years and it would be difficult to explain youngster that there was a time with no computers and there was still life around. And someimes rather goo.

Excellent post.

Mar 25, 2013 03:00 PM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Kim: Thank you- Yes, the titles are similar!  :)

Jon: Thanks!  It is tough for the next generation to picture life without computers, cell phones, etc.  I wonder what will come next?

Mar 25, 2013 11:46 PM
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

If the footprints point in the right direction; then I can face myself in the mirror each day.

Apr 27, 2013 12:11 AM