Your Legacy is Every Day
We’ve all had the fantasy.
You die in a blaze of glory saving the world through a selfless act. Everyone’s at your funeral and you’re watching from the sky as people line up to pay their respects. There’s your great aunt, your old neighbor and even the bully who is deeply distressed about how they did you wrong just before your passing. That feels good.
But then in your daydream you have a frightening thought pops up that you tuck back into your mind as quickly as you can.
The funeral ends. People leave.
The world continues on.
We all share a deep desire to be remembered. We all want to see how we made an impact.
It’s why we write books. Create art. Build architecture. It’s the reason for footprints on the moon.
We want to poke the world and see where our finger made an indent.
The good news is even in tiny ways we can make an impact on people. Even in tiny ways we can create our legacy by leaving tiny impressions that dent the world around us in a positive way.
When I was studying abroad I was out to eat in a plaza one evening with friends. The tables at the restaurant were very closely placed together, and because of this we struck up a conversation with an American man and his daughter. We talked about travel and how his work had brought him there. After he left we found out that he had picked up our entire tables dinner tab. I’ll never forget that night.
Greetings and Goodbyes
In talent contests, it’s almost always a fact that the winner who is chosen is either first or last to perform. This is because most people never remember the middle of anything. The same is true for greetings and goodbyes.
Every hello is a chance to meet again and every goodbye is the finale to remember you by. How we start and how we end matter as much if not more than the middle.
Phone calls and Cards
There’s a reason we keep old letters in our top drawer. I have a whole stack waiting to be seen again.
People used to cold call or ring up old friends. People used to write letters and cards and send direct mail.
Because of their disappearance, it’s become valuable again. Calling someone or sending them a hand written letter is a sure way to be remembered.
Passion and Energy
It’s not voodoo, but passion and energy are contagious. Cliche but people remember how you made them feel, and you can be the cause of a positive ripple effect that spreads through your community.
People don’t remember the cogs. Everyone has a unique energy to share with the world. I am drawn to the unconventional.
Gore Vidal once said, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
Making your mark on the world is about fearlessly being exactly who you are.
I don’t know about my death, but I know about my today.
I know today I can be remembered, even in small ways like by the cashier at the store. It doesn’t have to be when I’m no longer around looking down from above to enjoy my legacy.
Every morning it's like we've been born to create a ripple again.
I think today I’ll just celebrate that.
I'll just read and breathe and take a walk. Then tomorrow, publish more work, place it it a bottle and cast it out into the sea.