Legacy: From Looming to Lightened
Do words like Legacy or Purpose make you uncomfortable? The word Legacy seems to be everywhere these days, and it’s hitting me on all fronts. Ever since I entered my fifties I have been very aware of the need to find and define my Purpose because, well, because that Legacy-thing is coming up.
Perhaps it coincides with caring for aging parents and realizing the undeniable fact that my time here on this earth is limited. Who am I, and what do I stand for? What am I here to do and why? Have I made that clear to others, and have I truly invested in something other than myself?
For me that Legacy-word sort of looms. As I have grown older, I’ve witnessed some great folks depart this world, persons who indeed did leave a Legacy. (Wow, I wrote the word “indeed.” In deed, by their deeds.) However my thoughts immediately turn to “and just what have you accomplished?” I’d begun to compare my little and oft-confused life with those of spiritual leaders, great entertainers and historical figures. What could I ever do, or leave, that could possibly begin to compare with their feats?
August is National “What Will Be My Legacy?” Month
AARP and other organizations will be focusing on this topic in August as will we. With Legacy in mind, NAVIGATE NC can help families with theirs. Most folks come to us with the intent of doing all they know to do to care for aging parents. They’ve hit a barrier of some sort. Families with elderly members or those living with chronic disease are looking for resources in Raleigh or Durham, N.C. We can help improve your outcome. Why, that could be a Legacy in the making for all concerned.
Still doubting my own Legacy, I forced myself to step into this topic. And I am glad I did.
Legacy and Purpose are on the minds of boomers and elders everywhere, more than will ever utter the words. Often the passing of someone notable or someone we love reminds us that our time here is limited. A common reaction following their death may be that of regret. Often our own regret may stem from a lack of action.
Great, I thought, here comes National “What Will Be My Legacy?” Month. Who among us wishes to sign up to devote some time to dwelling upon regret? Still, it’s that Month, and so I forced myself to study Legacy. Naturally, a barrage of famous people came up in early research. There were motivational speeches and videos on everything from religion to educational pursuits and legal pathways to leave wealth to children.
The initial research resulted in my dwelling more on what I hadn’t done than anything I had. While digging deeper one passage got my attention. This one seemed to fit, and I felt hope: “Death informs life,” writes Susan V. Bosak in the Legacy Project. “It gives you a perspective on what’s important. But Legacy is really about life and living. It helps us decide the kind of life we want to live and the kind of world we want to live in.”
Ah, I decide. I am in a position to make choices. And there is time. Perhaps I could work on this Legacy-thing, and enhance it.
With that I declared that we all don’t have to have our name on a building, or write a famous book, or sing and dance, or make millions to leave to our children.
Finding Legacy and Purpose
I paused to consider the great influences in my life. My family, immediate and then extended: What had been their positive effect upon me (and is it something I can emulate)? My best teachers, the best supervisors and bosses: Hadn’t I responded to their positive regard for me and others? What did I admire about their leadership and how was it delivered? Who do I presently admire, and what is it about them that I believe to be important? What makes me tick, and is it good and just?
And so I researched more. I immersed myself in websites and books and videos about all-things-Legacy, and then I let it settle. I walked around with it for a few days. When I became clear, I sat down to write this piece.
Here’s what bubbled up, and it’s simple. I like simple.
I decided there are simple steps toward improvement. We can make intentional decisions that are ours to make. If we do not already have Purpose, we do have the ability to discover it. Carrying out our Purpose would result in Legacy.
Personally I can make quiet attempts to live a golden-rule kind of way. I can remain conscious of my actions with integrity as my goal. I find guidance from the line of thinking found in the Rotary’s Four-Way Test:
“Of the things we think, say or do
• Is it the TRUTH?
• Is it FAIR to all concerned?
• Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
• Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
I can live here, can you? I strive for number 4.
Professionally I founded NAVIGATE NC, an advocacy company which enables us to invest in families who are met by challenges in caregiving. I keep the doors open for an agency that provides guidance and education for Adult Children caring for aging parents or anyone living with chronic disease. We help families navigate the challenges that normally come with aging and chronic disease.
The Looming of Legacy Lightens
Sitting in Legacy really helped me. Reframing Legacy from what I’d previously regarded it to be was en-lighten–ing. The looming had lightened. We have choices, we can take action. We don’t need to make a million dollars or do anything splashy.
It’s about realizing what we stand for, who we are and what matters to us. And then it is about conscious choice and action.
It’s personal, and it’s simple. I like simple.
Our Legacy is helping families gain the satisfaction of knowing they are doing all they can do for their loved ones. We have the privilege of guiding and assisting. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, CONNECT WITH US on our website or simply call 919.628.4428. We are ready for your call.
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