What will be your Legacy?
I don’t usually like to start a blog post with a dictionary definition but in this case I feel it quite appropriate when asking the question ‘What will be your legacy?’. Many people associate a legacy with something material, in fact one popular online dictionary defines a legacy as this:
1. Money or property bequeathed to another by will.
2. Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past
The second part of this definition though gives merit to the thought that a legacy doesn’t have to be something material, in many ways it can be something much more than that. When the Olympic Games were held in London last year the word legacy was banded around quite a lot. Many people were asking ‘What will be the legacy of these games?’ or in effect what will it do for our young people or UK sport in general. Clearly then when we talk about our own personal legacy much more can be at stake than just money.
What legacy are you striving to leave behind?
Maintaining a good work life balance is something that almost everybody in life is trying to achieve. We all want to provide well materially for our families and if possible leave something behind for those whom we love. One of the biggest dilemmas many of us face though is whether the pursuit of our financial legacy is distracting us from a greater question of what version of ourselves we will leave behind for our loved ones to remember us by.
When I look back on my own life one of the saddest things I think about is the lack of time I was able to spend with my own father because he was always working. If he did occasionally have a day off from work the stresses of work were often still with him and he was unable to switch off. Even to this day I still don’t hear from him all that much because his focus is completely on his work. Now it’s not that I think my dad didn’t love us or didn’t want to spend time with us, No. In fact, I think his love for us is what drove him to try and give us the best life possible in a material sense. Even now I think he is still striving to have some sort of financial legacy to leave behind for his children out of love. However, although I think this striving for a financial legacy shows that my father does love the people in his life, I do wonder if he’s striving to leave the wrong kind of legacy.
What legacy will I leave?
To this very day I still get a little upset when I hear people on the television talking about the close relationships they have or had with their Father, the word ‘had’ sort of brings things into focus doesn’t it. In all honesty I wouldn’t care in the slightest if when his time came my father didn’t have a single penny to leave to me, all I ever wanted and still want is to enjoy his company while the opportunity still exists. These feelings make me think long and hard when I consider the legacy I will leave behind for my own children and loved ones. Yes I need to work hard to provide for my family materially and it would be great to have a large nest egg to leave behind but when I think about the bigger, more important issue of my overall legacy I can’t help but ask myself this, how will my children remember me? As the Dad who was always working or as the dad who was always there? What stories will they tell of me when I’m gone? What kind of legacy will I leave?