On this day, over TWO CENTURIES AGO, an incredible man was born. Ok, no. It was a baby. A baby was born. But that baby turned into the greatest president this country has ever had, despite his “melancholic personality.” It should’ve, and could’ve, slowed him down, but he accomplished so much while dealing with mental health concerns.
What we can learn from Lincoln
Across the span of many years and endless responsibilities, Lincoln faced real anxieties like the rest of us: about love and failure and the future. I think there’s hope in that for two big reasons:
1. Your sadness and anxiety don’t define you
What does define you is the progress you make every day, big or small. What defines you is how you treat those around you. I don’t know if his respect for deep conversation and intelligence played a role in his sadness… if maybe he knew too much and saw too much that couldn’t be fixed? Or maybe he was born that way and the loss of dear family members, like his son, amplified it. Regardless, Lincoln did all he could to right the wrongs he saw. And he didn’t let the endless problems in his country and life take him down. If he can do it, we can do the same. We can work hard on whatever small differences we can make.
2. You can still get sh*t done
His ambitions were impressive. And he accomplished much in his time, more than he ever dreamed of, but it didn’t satisfy him. Lincoln was quoted as saying “being elected to Congress, though I am very grateful to our friends, for having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected.” If that’s not relatable to this day, what is? Having a goal breathes life into our everyday actions, but sometimes they serve as just a distraction from the pain no one can see. To his credit, he kept on. He worked, he didn’t wallow. He fought for equity and peace for everyone in the Union.
Abe Lincoln was a big man. An impressive man. A man history has and (hopefully) will always respect and honor with the highest regards. But he’s just a man. And I’m just a woman. And we’re all out here with our quirks, making a difference with our existence.
Happy birthday, Abe Lincoln. And thank you for inspiring my life.