A Lasting Legacy
A few months ago I went with my family back to my birthplace of Wichita, Kansas. We made the trip to help my grandparents prepare to move out of their house and into an active retirement community.
This is the same house that I had been visiting for as much as I can remember of my 25 years on this Earth. It had been nearly ten years since I had been back there.
I stepped through the door and was instantly overwhelmed with nostalgia. It was the same feeling you get when you hear an old song or smell a familiar scent. You’re whisked away and thrust into a fond memory for a brief moment in time.
Over the few days we spent there, we continually uncovered different items from throughout my grandpa’s lifetime. We found his elementary school report cards. We found books of his family lineage. We found family heirlooms. And we found his legacy.
With each piece we dusted off, my parents or grandma had a story to go with it. My grandpa is now into his late 70’s and his memory has started to fade, but what hasn’t faded are the stories that describe him.
His passion for his cars and tending to his garden. His relentless tickling of and love for his grandkids. His grit and toughness. His determination to provide for his family. His working as a police officer during the day while starting a myriad of businesses by night to make ends meet.
All of his character qualities that were exposed through these stories are the building blocks of the legacy that my grandpa has constructed over his lifetime. These traits weren’t created overnight or fabricated by him, because he wasn’t even the one telling the stories. These were built through overcoming adversity and living a life of perseverance.
All of that leads to me to this thought:
You are creating your legacy every day. You may not realize that or appreciate it right now. But when you are in your senior years, what stories will your family and friends be telling about you?
Beyond just your family and friends, consider this scenario:
You have a 20 minute conversation with a stranger while flying on a plane, then that stranger is asked to describe your legacy in a few sentences – what would they say?
Would they tell the story of someone with passion, empathy, enthusiasm for life and a genuine care for those around them? Or would they say otherwise?
Your legacy is shaped in every interaction that you have, and the way you approach everyday. Whether that stranger from the plane is around to help write your eulogy isn’t the point.
What lasts is your influence on your friends, coworkers, family and anyone else you come across. What lasts is the message you portray, that will one day form your legacy.