You write your legacy every day, choose wisely.
This year I turn 40 *gasp.* I’m actually super ok with it. I mean if you asked me twenty, even ten, years ago how I would feel turning 40, I would’ve likely said “oh hell no!” But my twenties were clouded with thoughts of getting to the next phase – graduating, job hunting, getting married, having babies before I turned 30. And then my thirties were about learning from the missteps I took in my twenties. So, I’m happy to turn 40 knowing I take the knowledge and experiences from the last twenty years with me.
With age though comes thoughts of adulty things- am I getting the best rate on my homeowners, what is my cholesterol anyways, do I need more life insurance, what’s the best deer resistant shrub?! All thoughts I had yesterday by the way. Somewhere in those important almost-forty-year-old considerations a word crossed my path while listening to an audio book. That word was “legacy.”
Legacy is anything handed down from the past. This could include things, money, and property, but also memories, lessons, and traditions. In my twenties, and even until now, my late thirties, the word never crossed my mind. I was always so focused on short term goals that thinking about what I will leave behind was irrelevant. Except it isn’t. And the things I do every day are what will create my legacy.
What if you could look to the future and read your obituary? Would you be happy with the words that describe you? Would it say you were loved by many (and mean it)? Would you read a list of accomplishments but only a small list of people? What about your funeral? What would that look like? Would there be as many smiles to remember you as tears? Would people say, I didn’t know her very well, or would they tell story after story?
I think about this more now. I know, I know, I’m going to be 40 not 80! But if I didn’t think about it now, I may go another 40 years and realize it’s too late, my legacy is not something to be proud of. I can’t risk regret. I can’t risk needing more time to prove my worth. I can’t risk being loved enough to be missed.
I want my legacy to leave a trail of people who felt loved by me. People who were helped, uplifted, and inspired. I want my children and future grandchildren to think of moments we had together, of things they learned from me, places we visited together, food we ate, and pictures we took. I’m not going to say, who cares about the money and the things, because I do. I care that I may be able to make life a little easier for those I love because of my hard work. But I don’t care about those things at the expense of the others. The feelings matter most.
I know as I age I will think about this more. I know I will look back a decade from now and think, “ha, remember when I was just 40?!” And it will happen in a blink. The days may feel long at times but oh those years how they fly. Day by day, moment by moment, is how the legacy I want to leave will be built. Please don’t underestimate how those days in your own life add up. Choose your actions and how you spend your time wisely so you will look down someday and be content with the legacy you left behind.