As a deep thinker, an over thinker, and someone who obsesses about some very strange things at times, I have come to realise that one thing bugs me over and over. My legacy!
I recently blogged about dying, cheerful I know, but it was on my mind, so I put it out there. In that piece I questioned what it was all about. Is death to be feared, or lived for? When we are gone, what is left, and what difference does our passing make to everyone else.
Having lost quite a few friends over the years, as well as some good acquaintances, its quite easy for me to make this next observation. Some people I have known who have died rarely ever cross my mind. Other however come into my thoughts on an almost daily basis. Not as sadness, but as memories of times gone by, thinking how a certain person would have liked whatever it is I'm doing at that moment, or just missing them for a moment.
In reality, I'm sure we all strive to be the latter. I know I do. I think I actually fear just being forgotten. I know I have shared some very special moments with some amazing people, and hope already that I have left my mark in life, at least in my own generation. I hope that I have done enough in life to generate a huge amount of 'do you remember when we' type conversations, as I have done about friends who have passed.
But there is a bone of contention in there, and one that doesn't sit well with me. My true legacy.
I am 42 years old now, far from old, but certain opportunities in life have reached a point of no return now. Choosing to have a child now, the primeval instinct of the human race, is quite a stretch in my world now, and not a choice I would make. Like a woman with her biological clock ticking away, I share that feeling of a door closing.
Of course, I have a child, or should I say, I fathered a child who is now a 20 year old woman.
It doesn't get to me too often, not something that I dwell on too much. I know in the years I have been absent she has been well looked after and loved. Raised well, and strives to make great academic achievements. I would say I'm really proud, but then that is a little glory grabbing really as its none of my doing.
Or is it? On a gross and scientific level, I do have something to be proud of. My genes after all went into her genetic makeup, she is 50% me, and while one part of the biological equation seems to have forgotten I am quite intelligent, thankfully her brain hasn't, and a part of me is indeed responsible for her success.
The truth is, my legacy as it stands is in 2 very separate pieces.
On the one hand, another generation has a life, will out live me, and a bloodline will continue. Regardless of my role and presence in the past 16 years, without me, there would be no her. Someone else maybe, but not her. Regardless of our interactions in years to come, her wishes to know me or involve me, she is my legacy. Like it or not.
Then the second part is the lives I have shared. The memories of the people I hold dearest to me, and who I have shared moments of happiness, sadness and of course stupidity with. A part of my life I have full control over, decisions I have made, and futures I have shaped. I hope I have done enough in those peoples lives to be remembered until their final days too, and for the stories of our adventures together to be told for decades to come.
Do you strive for a legacy? Or just take each day as it comes, and not care about what happens when you are gone?