AN OVERVIEW: “You know (your name here).  He or she…”  What comes next?

Remember all of those songs that stay in your head even YEARS later?  Let me see if I can jog some memories: Gimme Some Lovin; White Shade of Pale; Long, Cool Woman in a Black Dress; Sitting on the Dock of the Bay; My Sharona; Down by the Bayou; Under My Thumb?  You know the ones that, even now when they come up in a playlist, or are played on the radio, you start singing, moving and maybe grab a hand of someone who remembers them with you, dance by yourself, or maybe with a grandkid.  Special times.  Great memories.  Just not the same the songs today.  Nothing special and they all sound alike.  Here today, gone tomorrow.

So, what will it be with you?  Will someone dance to your music, remember your humor, a place you took them, or your special song?  You want to think so, but six months later will it be “You know…, he/she loved…, took us to…  Sorry, not ringing a bell.”  Here today, gone tomorrow.

You want to ring bells.  You want to have that special dish you loved served over and over again, or a place visited that is special to you.  You want to be remembered for the special you, that’s you.  There’s only one you with unique talents and an individual feel.  I think of a friend of ours who is a great cook, right off the boat Italian food, and makes you feel as welcome as family.  This is how she is and will be known, now and forever.

I’m sure you’ve had this discussion with yourself, late at night, when the quiet sets in, and it was sobering.  When I have this discussion with myself, I’m always reminded of a line from a Jesse Winchester song, “All of Your Stories”: “If you light up the occasional candle, you’re allowed the occasional curse.”  How true for all of us.  You’re not perfect, have made mistakes, but, you also have lit lights, and sparked smiles.  What will stick?  You’ll never know, so why not focus now on what you want it to be.  (And by the way, this discussion should not be considered depressing, but invigorating.  It’s your stamp and your lessons.)

The literature refers to this effort as your legacy.  There are many aspects to your legacy and we will consider each of them in a series of blogs.  But it’s most important is to think about, and consider, your legacy. And if there are aspects you need to confront and change, now’s the time to do it and leave a special tapestry that will continue on.

When considering your legacy, there’s the physical component – money, family heirlooms, special items, etc., and the intangible component – memories, lessons, guardrails, places, etc.  They each play a role, and the more complete and vibrant, the better.  This will be work, but work that will live on, and may be the most important work you do.  So, approach it openly and honestly and don’t be afraid to be expansive.  As mentioned, we will discuss legacy in a series of forthcoming blogs, so stay tuned.


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