I recently asked someone what they want their legacy to be? Some may think that these are morbid questions:
How do you want others to remember you? What do you want your legacy to be?
But I think these questions can help keep us on track with where we want our life to be and what is important to us. And think about it, why shouldn’t we keep this in mind and plan for it? After all, we plan for our retirement, we plan for trips, weddings, vacations, bills…why not plan for our legacy too?
I asked this question of someone who always plays video games, several hours every day. Early in the morning as soon as they get up, they play. Every afternoon when they get off work, they play their games. And at night, they fall asleep to videos of video games. This is not a kid living in their mother’s basement. This is a man of a certain age. And gaming is his hobby.
But I was curious about his answer. Did he want to be remembered as a good father, husband, friend, pillar of the community? Or did he want people at his funeral to say how great he was at gaming and how high his games scores were? He does not have a wife and kids yet (and some say he never will if he doesn’t put his games down), but assuming that one day he does want that life….what is he doing to make that the life that he wants?
The truth is, only you can choose your legacy and only you can make it so. So what kind of life do you want? How do you want to be remembered? Why not plan for that now, while we are still here? And I have to wonder, if we thought about our legacies and how we might be remembered more often, would it change our behaviors and activities? We all have hobbies and things we enjoy doing in our spare time, when we have time. And we all need a release and a way to relax. But do we want how we relax to be our legacy? Some might say yes, others might not.
What do I want as my legacy? I want it to be as a loving mother who raised happy, healthy children (whether I have kids with my current partner or have a child on my own). If I ever marry, I would like my legacy to be a happy husband. I want to be remembered as a dedicated daughter and family member. To live on in the memory of my friends and loved ones as someone who truly cared, about them, about life, about the world. And I want to be remembered as a damn fine writer who made people laugh, think and maybe even feel something every now and then.
How do we make our legacy a reality? Simple. We get up off the couch and start living life. We start living life with a purpose and with passion. That means giving it all you have all the time. Sounds exhausting? It is. But nothing worth achieving is easy. And again, we work hard at our savings account, our retirement, our vacations…why not about our legacy?
I want to live life for something bigger than myself. I want to live with purpose and know that when I die, some part of me will carry on in some form, whether through a healthy child, a garden, or just happy memories. I have seen how many lives my wonderful mother touched, how many people love her because she loved them and was warm ,and generous and helped many. Her legacy was love. But long before she passed, she lived a life that honored that legacy.
What will your legacy be?