April 26, 2014

How's Your Legacy Looking?

I remember an activity I did with a group of teens that turned out to be an interesting experience. I had them write their own eulogy. I asked them to list their accomplishments and contributions and to consider and include what they wanted people to remember about them once they had left this life.

Teens believe they're immortal - even more so than the rest of us, so just getting them to consider the idea of "not being here" was a challenge. Once they allowed themselves to "go there" they came up with some great aspirations.

We all begin our story the same way - birth - and we know how the story ends - we die. It's something we all have common. What makes life a different experience for each of us is what happens between those two events.  Our choices, the paths we choose to follow, the people we spend time with, all contribute to our story. Time is the currency of life and unfortunately we never know the balance of that account.

The question isn't whether or not we'll leave a legacy, only what kind of legacy we'll leave. It's a question worthy of some soul searching and even more worthy of a good answer.  It needs to include questions about whether our ends have justified our means.  If our dreams have been realized by questionable means can we feel as fulfilled by them as if we'd come by them honestly and kindly?  I would imagine it might feel like attending the Academy Awards, muddy and in our gardening clothes, to accept our Oscar. It's impossible to dress up poor character.

Our legacy isn't something we can't defer for old age in hopes we can cram for the exam.  It's forged one act at a time and is a life long process with no chance of copying from our neighbors paper.

Not everyone can leave an inheritance, but everyone WILL leave a legacy.  Will ours be a rich one that will be talked about for generations to come or will it be keeping company with the other skeletons in the family closet? The time to decide is NOW Today is the only day we have, and we're not even promised the next 10 minutes. 

Leaving a great legacy comes from living our greatest life. We've already begun to craft our legacy either by design or default.  I'm feeling a great deal of pressure to do this right.  I have children and grandchildren that I want to blaze trails for.  I want them to look fondly on their heritage but more importantly to build upon it boldly.

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