When a person dies, what do they leave in the world? As an old proverb states, tigers leave their hide after death and people leave their name after death. Little is left after death: bodies slowly decay and return to the ground, wealth is split up and taken by others. If you think about it, the only thing that remains as evidence that the person existed is their name, and people’s memories regarding that name. Official records or photos can be lost among time and forgotten about, but a strong bond between people is hard to forget.
But as even memories fade away, a person who you met once or twice will be forgotten eventually. Therefore, a person who never was close to people or make an impact in someone’s life would “not have existed” to anyone other than a select few, such as family. Therefore, his or her life would have had no meaning, as it may have never existed. Although some may argue that there would have been meaning while the person was alive, there is no greater meaning outside of the past and present, with no impact in the future.
However, if one is close to many people and actively leaves some mark in someone’s life, they will be remembered for those “marks”. In other words, the way people see you is how you will be remembered after death, and by extension, it will define who you were. If you were generous and kind, you become a “good person” forever, but if you did not interact with people or treated them with little respect, you are then defined as a “not so good person”, or even worse, not defined at all. This is regardless of what kind of person you are on the inside, as that would be completely destroyed after death.
The main point of this thought process is that if you do not leave some evidence that you existed, more specifically a good mark, whatever you did in your life will be meaningless. One could accomplish a great feat and have their name known across the world, or leave a work of art or literature that will be seen and read, or even just befriend many people and leave an everlasting impression of yourself in their mind.
But if you do not want your life to have any impact on the future, there is the option of simply enjoying the present and disappear as Andersen’s Little Mermaid did.
Ergo, it is ultimately your choice whether you want to leave a mark in the world or not.