How Will You Be Remembered?
As I get older, I often wonder how I will be remembered after I die. What will I leave behind that will be of lasting value?
A long time ago, I started creating my legacy without realizing it. Below are some of my experiences and some guidelines so that you can take control of how you will be remembered after you are no longer here.
I Embraced My Desire to Create a Memorable Legacy
I know the values and memories I want to share with others to create a lasting impression that resonates with my friends and family. And every day, I do one or two things that reflect these values and create new memories for me and those closest to me.
While it’s easy for me to write to you in broad platitudes about my legacy, I want to give you some guidelines so that you can do the same thing for yourself.
Key Questions to Define Your Legacy
Developing a meaningful legacy begins with self-reflection.
Below are some important questions to help you shape how you will be remembered:
- Which core values define you, and how should they be incorporated into your legacy?
- What type of difference do you want to make in the world?
- How would you like to be remembered by family, friends, and the community?
- What hopes do you have for future generations?
Answering these questions can help you create a blueprint for a legacy that will endure long after you’re gone.
Understanding the Elements of Your Legacy
Your legacy can take various forms, from tangible items like family heirlooms or artwork to intangible qualities such as memories, wisdom, or a sense of humor. By embracing your individuality, your legacy becomes integral to your identity and impact on the world.
Strategies for Creating a Lasting and Unique Legacy
There are numerous ways to shape your legacy, ensuring you will be remembered in a way that genuinely reflects your essence. Here are some suggestions to inspire you:
- Support a cause you’re passionate about by volunteering your time or helping raise money. The cause can be religious, social (helping people experiencing poverty or children who need adult mentors), or cultural (theatre or the arts). Even certain sports leagues and events rely on volunteers (like professional and amateur golf events). For most of my life, I have sought ways to volunteer my time and expertise to help others. In my case, I am a long-time Board member and past president of a large Synagogue here in Boca Raton (which was an enormous multi-decade commitment). Earlier, I was the Chairperson of the South Palm Beach County American Cancer Society Gala (we raised vast sums of money for the American Cancer Society). And before that, I was a drug rehabilitation center board member that treated teens with substance abuse problems. At Sunshine Cremation Services, we volunteer our time and resources to research organizations trying to solve the puzzle of degenerative neurological disease.
- Dedicate your time and resources to making a difference in your community. Volunteering at your local hospital, nursing home, or soup kitchen can make a real difference, one person at a time. Simple kindness to those around you, combined with active, intentional, and repeated participation, is often all needed to both get started and have an impact. I have fed the poor, played the Easter Bunny at Easter celebrations for disadvantaged kids, and dressed up as Santa Claus handing out gifts in poor neighborhoods. You would be surprised how much you can achieve to build a lasting memory of yourself through participation and aggressive kindness.
- Document and share your life story, preserving your unique perspective for future generations. Document your autobiography if you don’t want your life story to die with you and those who currently know you. Don’t worry if you aren’t a good writer. With a cell phone and free apps found on the internet, you can record an oral history of your life for generations in the future to watch and appreciate. Since grade school children have figured out this technology, I have confidence you can also.
- Create artwork, music, or literature to inspire and engage others long after you’re gone. My form of art is writing. Even though I have no aesthetic sense and even less patience for detail, I know of many people who have learned to paint, make ceramics and blown glass art, and create a lasting legacy through their art.
- Share your expertise in a subject you’re passionate about, passing on knowledge and igniting interest in others. Again, you can write down your expertise or use video recording (on your cell phone) to accomplish the same. And it is easy to publish videos on YouTube.
- Establish a family tradition that will be cherished and passed down through generations, keeping your memory alive. Family traditions are perhaps one of the best things you can do. Family traditions can be as simple as Sunday family dinners or annual family vacations.
The most crucial aspect of your legacy is aligning it with your values and beliefs. Consider how you want to be remembered and make it count.
And, if your children or grandchildren live nearby, having them help you build your legacy will be most meaningful and strengthen your relationship with them.
Maximizing Your Impact with a Memorable Legacy
Our legacy reflects who we are, and consciously shaping it can have a lasting impact on our loved ones and the world. As we enter our golden years, we should seize the opportunity to create a legacy that genuinely represents our essence, leaving a mark that will be cherished for generations.
And do not use the excuse of being too old to make a difference.
If you are retired, you have the time to make your legacy and make it stick. If you need help figuring out how to establish your legacy, please call me. It would be my honor to assist.
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