Friday, 15 March 2019

What will be my legacy?

Facebook is glutted with reports of amazing seniors riding for the support of research for the latest disease, building homes for the homeless, spending hours at the local school or hospital reading to children and so many other outstanding gifts of their time and energy to society. You don't go a day on Facebook without hearing about someone who published their first book or painted their first painting at 80 or 90 years of age. It is all commendable and exciting and .... a high bar to meet.   

I read an obituary in the local paper recently of a man my age who had been full of life and love and a memorable sense of humour. In the end, his "earthsuit was cremated in his standard garb of a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops accompanied by a picture of his sweetheart, a burger and onion rings, an assortment of licorice, some heartfelt reading material and a butter tart." I had to raise my arm and say "Yes!" and then the air whooshed out of me. Love and a sense of humour are an amazing legacy - but what will mine look like?

I have given some thought to what my legacy might be. What of myself will I leave behind when I exit this earthly body? I smile as I think about who I would ask. I believe my kids or my grandchildren would say something different than my friends? And which friends? My childhood friends saw a different person than my adult friends see today - or did they? And who really is going to embrace a legacy of an ordinary woman living an ordinary life in an average ordinary place? Does it have to be spectacular or is ordinary where most of us tread on this life walk?

It occurred to me that positive legacies are the hope of those facing death on the not-too-distant horizon; mediocre or sad or empty legacies are the fear. My generation, now facing their seventies, no longer look at an untimely death filled with trepidation.We are closer to accepting the inevitable (timely?) and can talk and joke about it without the tears and fears we experienced when looking forward to our future of finding love or a career or both and raising families or connecting with others and living a purposeful life - a life that stretched out in decades. It is not, however, only the elderly who consider this question.  I remember hearing the testimony of a close friend and her dying daughter and even at the young age of forty, her daughter's fear was: Will I be remembered? It is a significant question. 

Some of us believe in an after life and living forever; some of us don't. I choose to believe that I will live forever even if it is as a vibrating chunk of energy that my "earthsuit" releases at death. It will be contained in the hearts of those who knew me and loved me and invited me in. The rest will be unwittingly connected through the heirs of my heart-estate: my family and close friends. So, in my opinion, the world is stuck with me forever!! 

This blog has raised more questions than answers really. My answers are ever changing and could teeter between me collapsing in a maudlin pool of emotional tears on the floor or rushing out the door to publish the book I never finished! 

And, now, the big question after a period of introspection: Can you assess your life and change your legacy when you are 70? or 80? Is it even worth a thought? And would you change it if you could? (well, that was more than one BIG question!)

I would love to hear from you!! 

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