What is the measure of a man?
What is it that determines who we are?
Is it the genes we are born with?
Is it the millions of years of ancestral DNA?
Is it the name we are given when we enter this world?
Is it the way we are raised
and the values instilled in us through childhood?
Is it what we are taught in school
through textbooks written by strangers
about a history we were not around for?
Is it the jobs we take for money?
Is it the work we are inspired to do?
Is it the food we eat?
Is it the clothes we drape upon our flesh?
Is it the company we choose to keep?
Is it the way we treat our fellow humans?
Is it the way we handle the circumstances which arise
during the course of life’s ups and downs?
Is it the thoughts that run rampant through our mind?
Is it the words we speak?
Is it the songs we sing?
Is it the actions we perform?
Is it the truth we try and uphold?
Is it the little white lies we tell?
Is it our connection with something greater than self?
Is it the blood which flows through our veins?
Is it the condition of our body?
Is it how we adjust and adapt
as evolution brings trials and tribulations
into our experience to learn from?
Is it the way we relate to the world around us?
Is it how we treat those who are less fortunate?
Is it our fate?
Is it our destiny?
Is it our karma?
Is it the free will choices we make?
Is it the beliefs we have?
Is it how many years we spend upon the earth?
Is it how we handle the inescapable truth
that a yawning grave awaits us in the end?
Is it the suffering we endure?
Is it the joy we experience?
Is it the places we travel?
Is it the people we meet?
Is it the lovers we share our hearts with?
Is it the loves we lose?
Is it the dreams we have?
Is it the goals we achieve?
Is it the aspirations we can’t quite reach?
Is it the family we start?
Is it the type of children we bring into the world
to take our place when we bow out?
Is it the happiness we spread?
Is it the sadness we feel?
Is it whether or not we reach a state
of perfect peace and enlightenment?
Is it where we lay our bones down at night?
Is it the size of the house we live in?
Is it the type of car we drive?
Is it how many miles we walk?
Is it the height of the mountain we scale?
Is it the depths of the abyss we dive into?
Is it the amount of jewels, trinkets, and baubles we amass?
Is it the simplicity found when we shed
the skin of this mortal flesh?
Is it in the seeking?
Is it the final relinquishment of the search?
Is it in the legacy we leave behind?
Scott Thomas Outlar survived the chaos of both the fire and the flood…barely. Now he spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the tide of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. His words have appeared in venues such as Calliope Magazine, Section 8, Dissident Voice, The First Line, and Yellow Chair Review. Links to his published material can be found at http://17numa.wordpress.com.