Whether you’re young or old, legacy is one of the most important aspects of your life. It is the essence of all that you’ve learned and accomplished, as well as how those around you perceived you. Our legacy comes in many forms. It could be as intangible as an emotion or as tangible as a work of art you created. In today’s post, I’m going to explore legacy and how to preserve it.
Those that came before you
Think back to the people in your life that left a lasting impression–a grandmother, a teacher, or a friend, perhaps. What about your experiences with them caused that impression? Maybe it was something they said that made you think, a recipe they shared with you or something they made especially for you. Any one of these things are a part of the legacy that that individual will leave in life. Taking the time to think back to those whose legacies had an impact on your life is an important first step to understanding and recognizing the kind of legacy you will one day leave behind.
I think about the legacy that my late friend Buddy Ebsen left not only with me but with millions of people throughout the world. His work on television, movies, etc. remains within the hearts of countless lives. While his legacy with the public was massive, the private legacy he left with people who had the luck of knowing him on a personal level is just a rich. I’ll never forget our conversations, his personality, the time we spent together working on his book ideas. To me, that is the legacy I was fortunate enough to inherit from him.
All that glitters is gold
To some, the idea of a legacy is rooted in what physical wealth we leave behind. While this is most definitely part of one’s legacy, we’d be remiss to consider it the most important aspect. Again, thinking back to those that left an impact on our lives, in all likelihood, it had nothing to do with money. It was an experience, a thought, a feeling, a taste or a smell. It was the comfort of their embrace, or the warmth of their voice. It was the support they showed as you pursued your dreams or a note they wrote you.
When you begin to think about your legacy, don’t get caught up focusing on the physical things you leave behind, but the things that can’t be bought or sold. Remember, money can run out, but ideas can last for generations.
Preserving your legacy
Now that we have a good understanding of what a legacy is, let’s talk about how to establish and preserve yours. Establishing your legacy will happen naturally over time as you interact with those around you. This can be as you join others for events or holidays, or when you’re interacting with them one-on-one. People’s memories of you are one of your strongest sources of legacy.
Your work, art, businesses, books, creations, recipes, videos, photographs, family, friends, et al. all add up to something incredible. The physical things we leave behind help tell our story. They help carry on our words, ideas and traditions. They allow for the admiration of your creativity and your individuality.
The true method of preserving your legacy is to touch those around us, through what we do, say, create and experience.
Lending a helping hand
As you may have come to understand, our legacies aren’t really about us but about those we impact throughout our lives. Sometimes, those whose legacies we will carry forward need our help. It’s important to commune with these people. Our mothers and father, grandmothers and grandfathers, friends and all. These people have stories to tell–stories which they probably never thought to tell you. Take time to speak to them. You’ll be amazed by what you may have missed and they’ll be grateful to take a trip down memory lane with someone they care about. Maybe they need your help bringing them into modern times. Helping them digitize their video collection of the old days, or showing them how to scan their photos to share with family can not only help you maintain your memories of them and their lives, but help them share it with others.
Whenever I think about the people who have left a lasting legacy with me, my heart beams with happiness. I think about the lessons they taught me, the ideas they inspired and how their words or actions helped me create a legacy of my own.
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