Photo by Giommarco Boscaro for Unsplash
Because of how humans work, focus is on our life, what’s going on around us, politically, socially, economically, culturally. Which is entirely appropriate. But, maybe there’s another perspective to take into account. That being we are a part of history. We are the precursors of what comes next. We are setting the stage. Our actions, beliefs and focus determine the next act of the play called human civilization. The world doesn’t stop with our leaving it. It continues built on the what we did during our time here.
Based on that, we need to understand that our actions and those around us matter more than just for now. We and they will have an impact on time we are no longer here. What do you want to leave as your legacy?
That leads me to the next questions about legacy.
What did you pass on to the world?
A successful business, accumulated wealth, many children and grandchildren? Something else? Something larger?
The concepts of integrity or of expediency?
The idea of worth based on assets or on personhood?
Respect for those different around you or judgment of those different?
The ability to disagree with someone without identifying that person as their belief and not really human?
Did fear silence you and dominate your decisions or did you speak for what you know to be true?
Did you make decision because they were easier than standing up to someone?
Teach those in your care how to think for themselves or how to follow rules you adopted?
Fear others or connect with them?
Use what you had to make others feel smaller and you more important?
It takes a lot to admit any of the above to ourselves. Yet, we’ve all done most or all of those things at one time or another. The great thing about being human is we can change our mind, our course, our behavior, our beliefs. As long as we are willing to do something better, to grow, to evolve beyond where we are, we can free ourselves from most of the behaviors on that list so we don’t pass them on or leave as a legacy.
To me it’s worth thinking about. Not just as we grow older, but as we make the big decisions in our life. To let go of expediency and instead use integrity as a guide. To ask ourselves the hard questions and to look at the naked truth of ourself and how we behave. To fearlessly oversee our actions so we pave the way for something better to follow us and to live something better while we are here.
All of that is in our power and control. We do not have to live out our childhood or upbringing, our schooling or things we know are not consistent with what we truly believe in our core. We each have inside us the failsafe that lets us know what is true and what is not. We can silence it for awhile, but ultimately the voice of clarity and truth within us is heard. We have the ability to use that as our compass through life.
Having said all that, we need to do the best we can, forgive ourselves and others and enjoy our time here and realize what a privilege life truly is and hope that what we leave behind is helpful and valuable to those who follow.
My best to you, fellow human,
Dianne J. Shaver