Leave Behind a Legacy
As we age, we begin to think more deeply and realistically about how we would like to be remembered in the future. Certainly, for those who have substantial financial means, there is the possibility of leaving large charitable donations to organizations that have meaning in return for recognition. Yet, in the case of most other individuals, it may be necessary to get more creative in terms of leaving a future legacy.
It does not take doing big things or completing major accomplishments to leave a legacy. Often, being remembered has more to do with the type of person you have become as versus the things that you have done.
How to Ensure that Your Name Will Live On
There are a number of ways to leave a lasting legacy to those whom you love. Some of these can include:
- Make a Will – Having a will is one of the best ways to leave a legacy that you have specifically crafted. A will can help you in ensuring that you have provided for the individuals and the worthy causes that you care the most about. This document can also help you in maintaining some control over who does and does not benefit from your estate. It is important to be sure that your will is up-to-date. Therefore, it should be reviewed and updated regularly in order to ensure that you have kept up with major changes in your life such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child or grandchild. Otherwise, you could end up unintentionally disinheriting someone whom you care about.
- Put It On Paper – Another great way to leave a legacy is to put your life story into writing. It has often been said that we all have a book inside of us. Even for those who feel that they have not accomplished great things, getting the story of your life and the things that you have done down on paper – or in many cases, on the computer – will allow you to see that you truly have taken part in many memorable activities and events over time.
- Have a Specific Purpose – Oftentimes, leaving a legacy does not involve monetary aspects at all but rather our time and service. For example, by volunteering for worthy causes and giving of yourself – especially if this is done so directly from the heart – you will always be remembered. A famous quote from Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund, states that “if you follow the need, you will never lack for a useful purpose.” Therefore, aligning yourself with causes that are important to you will automatically put you in the position of leaving a lasting effect.
In any case, your legacy should be one of purpose. This can happen by simply leaving the most positive impact possible on those around you. For instance, by being encouraging to others in the development of their talents and skills, you will be remembered in a very positive light. This can also include leaving a legacy of love for those who are important to you by reminding them today how valuable they are and how much they are loved.
The bottom line is that in order to leave a legacy of excellence, you should strive to be your best self each and every day in the present. In doing so, you will also encourage and inspire the same in others, essentially becoming a role model for them to follow in your footsteps.
George Shaw writes about senior health and care issues. He also helps seniors find California Nursing Homes and private care options.