I used to think of legacy as something we left behind. But not anymore.
I think of legacy as what we put in motion through our lives.
Codi Shewan writes in Everyday Legacy, “I resolved that I didn’t want just to leave my legacy behind when I died. I wanted to live my legacy every day.”
Notably, Shewan used to be a funeral director. That career field, of course, gave him a unique perspective on legacy.
The first thing being a funeral director taught me was that death has no clock; it waits for no one. … When it’s your time, it’s your time. But you get to determine how you live before that time comes.
I like Shewan’s perspective. We’ve overblown the notion of leaving something behind, I think. I remember a conversation with one rather salty patriarch who told me simply, “What do I care what I leave behind? …I’ll be gone, and I’ll let my kids figure it out.”
“When it’s your time, it’s your time. But you get to determine how you live before that time comes.” – Codi Shewan
Considering What’s Truly Important
I’m not sure about you, but one of the easiest ways to be reminded about what’s important is to consider the end. Far too often, we are running hard. Chasing promotions. Building businesses. Raising kids. Trying to get enough sleep.
But I’m convinced we need to take a longer view.
Shewan says it this way: “If you were to fast-forward to the end, which of the things would become irrelevant? What’s left when you strip away the things that don’t really matter? What’s left is people. Not things. Not possessions. Not bank accounts. At least not for most of us.”
What will those people say about you? What will those people remember about you?
Were you a willing and fully present person for a conversation? Or were you just busy, and in a hurry?
How did you make them feel? Did they feel loved? Or did they feel like they were another thing on your checklist?
Legacy Is Who You Are Everyday
To quote Shewan once again, “Legacy isn’t a title. Legacy isn’t an occupation. It’s who you are and it’s what you give to people. … Everyday Legacy is living purposefully while you’re alive in a way that uplifts the lives of others.”
Put it differently, legacy is not an event. It’s not about the reading of a will. Instead, legacy is a way of living your life.
And let me add, I’m a person of faith. As a Christian, I believe there’s a life beyond this one. It tells me that the real value of legacy is investing in those things that I’ll see in heaven. That’s what I mean about putting your legacy in motion. I had one friend who told me simply, “I want to do as much as I can to see as many people join me in heaven.”
If you were committed to living your legacy today, are there any changes you would make?
Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash
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Published December 4, 2020
Topics: Family Legacy