Choosing Legacy

When you think about legacy, what do you think of?

References in classic literature often refer to legacy in the context of finances, as though a person’s life’s value is based on the money they’ve amassed. A person dies and his beneficiaries inherit a financial legacy. For example, “After my mother’s death, all was to come to me except a legacy of three hundred pounds that I was then to pay my brother.” – Bleak House by Charles Dickins, and “There was also a legacy of one thousand pounds.” – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.

Perhaps you think of career legacy, achieved when a person makes his or her mark through his work. He eats, sleeps and breathes his values and vision, into the operations of a company. This becomes the culture of the operation and his personal legacy. Ultimately, a legacy such as this influences the world at large.Think of Steve Jobs and his legacy of innovation and creativity with Apple. His career achievements have become his legacy.

Then there is philanthropic legacy. Money in the form of a fund or donation that keeps on giving, long after the philanthropist passes on. In support of education, J.D. Rockefeller founded and contributed $80 million to the University of Chicago. This is part of his overall legacy. Another example of charitable legacy can be in the form of talent donated for a cause. Eg. Bob Geldof’s efforts for famine relief.

These definitions of legacy are well known but many of us are unable to connect with them. Legacy is for the wealthy, the gifted, the driven, right?

Not so.

We each have our own unique legacy to consider.

A one word legacy.
(Photo Credit – Josie Nicole Photography)

 

Whether intended or not, when we leave this earth we’ll be remembered for something by someone, somewhere. Your life could be summed up in one word. “Her legacy was love” or “he lived with integrity.”

 

 

 

Let’s look at you and me. What does legacy mean to us on a personal level?

When we focus on legacy, we begin to ask questions like these –

  1. How is the world a better place because I lived?
  2. How would I like to be remembered?
  3. How do I live my values?

The answers may exclude any consideration of finances, career, or philanthropy and be about who we are at the core, as human beings.

Your legacy could be expressed by one word or, perhaps, in a short statement.

  1. I loved.
  2. I was a lifelong learner who passed on my lessons.
  3. I cared enough to reach out to those in front of me.           

We don’t have to wait until we are gone for others to declare our legacy.

That’s the good news. When we bring it into our awareness, we realize we have choices.

Why not be aware and live your legacy intentionally? If you look at your life today, what is the one word that describes you?

She is joy. She is kindness. She is patience.

Through self-reflection and a little digging, we can mine our lives for the legacy we have lived so far – the one we are living right now – then ask:

– is this how I want to be remembered?

– how am I influencing the world around me?

– what is my legacy today?

You get to choose.

You can live without giving it much thought or you can examine your actions so far. You can decide on the legacy you desire and act now.

What can you do to affect that one word that will sum up who you are/ were in this life?

It’s your legacy. What’s it going to be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can One Writer Influence the World?

Bryan Hutchinson is living proof that you can influence the world by committing to a regular journal writing habit. Today, I’m guest posting for his blog, Positive Writer. 

Everyone seems to be touting the benefits of keeping a journal these days. I’m glad. I’ve always believed the world would be a better place if more people picked up a favorite pen and wrote their hearts out on a regular basis.

we become observers …

            It’s through a dedicated journal practice that we become observers of life, both our own and that of others. We start on a small scale, creating inner awareness by looking at ourselves. Eventually, we observe on a larger scale by looking outward at the world. By doing both, we acknowledge the complexities of life. We begin to understand how we are all truly connected.

(Continue reading at PositiveWriter.com)

Writing Family Matters

How many times have you been sitting around the dinner table when a senior family member tells a tale of some past experience and you’re so drawn in, you forget you ate dessert? Before you know it time has flown by, grandpa is ready to go home and you are left craving more. We are pulled into the past as though we are gathered at the storyteller’s feet, listening to a favourite childhood fairy tale, “Once upon a time….” and we are enrapt. We want to know the stories of those who came before us.

“Once Upon a Time” by Une Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When I was a child, my Great Aunt Mabel was like that. She knew the family stories and told them in such an animated way that when she started, we stopped everything to listen. Sad part is, she didn’t write them down. When she passed on, the stories passed with her and I’m sure I am not the only family member with regrets.

My husband has a dear family friend we call Aunty Marg. She is like that, too. Aunty Marg worked as a nurse through World War II, never married and was a world traveller. Her stories were vivid and she helped us learn about real life all through the 1900s. She wound up with dementia and ultimately passed on with her stories still in her. Although I encouraged her to write about her life for us, she didn’t. Now, my regret is that I didn’t write them for her.

Writing matters. All writing matters, but my focus is on legacy due to a deep and long held belief that story is important for strong family ties.

Legacy helps children of every age hold a unique and indestructible sense of belonging.

I want to preserve family story through the written word.

In this day and age, where Skype and other social media have replaced the handwritten letter and, in many cases, a well-written email, it is a challenge to gather our experiences. Unless we take note and purposely record our stories, we’ll lose not only the fine detail of the true tale but we’ll lose the connection to our ancestors, our sense of belonging and our personal family history as well.

What written treasures will your family have to hold and share with their children and grandchildren? We want these stories and we want to revisit them time and time again. In each stage of our lives, we discover new perspective by rereading the stories left to us.

What’s your family story? Who is recording the stories that reveal what life was like when…? Who is your family historian? Could it be you?

 

 

 

Writing Family Matters was originally published on My Life After Kids at www.kathiostrom.com .

“Once Upon a Time” by Une Photos   is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why Writing Life Matters

Naming a business comes with responsibility, just like naming your baby. You feel like you want to get it just right by coming up with a name that fits the look and personality.mydesign

When I zeroed in on Writing Life Matters, I knew I’d found the perfect name to describe my company and me.

With a focus on journaling legacy, the name works on many levels.

For starters, journal writing can bring us –

  • clarity,
  • direction,
  • mindfulness,
  • inner peace,
  • a form of meditation,
  • and enhanced creativity.

The writing life matters to me because:

  •             when I’m not writing I’m off balance,
  •             writing is much better than not writing,
  •             it helps me make sense of life,
  •             it moves me toward being a better person
  •             it helps me live a better life,
  •             I am a writer.

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Writing about life matters to all of us.

It informs and helps us understand our legacies. It connects us, gives us a sense of belonging, and helps us live more consciously.

For me it all comes down to this one belief – Writing Life Matters.

Welcome to Writing Life Matters.

My hope is to inspire more of us to write as legacy for our families and by doing so, benefit a little ourselves.

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