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It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. It’s not over till it’s over. The saying is a general colloquialism used in a great many references. That’s all I have to say about that.

After passing from this world, how will you be remembered? Is that something that concerns you? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we left behind something that people would recognize? The performance of our lives doesn’t have to be on the big stage. It doesn’t have to be in the grandest way possible to be impactful.

Getty Images. Brunhilde Sings

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Death is our final arbiter. Our legacy is the mark we have left on this world when we pass. What were our accomplishments, and how did we impact others? How did we impact the places we lived and worked? The end of life reveals how we moved the world around us.

Legacy Defined

What is legacy?

An individual’s legacy can comprise many things. The impact we have had on the lives of others is one aspect. That influence can be for good or bad. In families, the heritage parents leave behind can be multi-generational.

My father led an unassuming life. He was passionate about his hobbies. Dad had a large group of associations who loved what he loved. When we celebrated his passing, so many people showed up that the chapel’s capacity maxed out.

My father left a legacy behind him in a quiet and humble way. We all have considered what people will remember about us when our time has come. Some of us will wonder if we can leave the world a tiny bit better than when we were here.

Beliefs And Values

Beliefs and values present a mixed bag of gifts. We have our own defining opinions on positive family values, principles, and morals.

The attributes of a positive legacy include love, selflessness, kindness, patience, courage, and more. Opposing principles can impute fear, the habit of anger, codependency, and poverty. That is the shortlist. The concept of poverty is far-reaching. It can include financial, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional environments.

I have seen the results of both positive and negative legacies. I have friends who have suffered emotional damage from deceased parents. The attitudes and habits ingrained into their psyche have left destructive behavior patterns. Some of those are self-doubt, self-loathing, and mistrust of others.

When You Are Dead, Will You Care If Your Grand Kids Know Your Name?

If you have children, then maybe you will have grandchildren. If you live long enough, possibly there will be great-grandchildren. After the great-grandkids, who is going to remember you?

Do you know the names of your great-great-grandparents? How about your great-grandparents? Kudos if you know their names. Maybe your hopes of legacy will come to fruition.

I’m just being honest here. All the memories you have left for your progeny, what will they keep. Will it be the pictures, diaries, letters, furniture, the inheritance? What will be practical for them? The destination for most of it is thrift stores, antique shops, and the garbage heap.

Here is the perspective – There is more death than life. Everyone dies; not everyone lives. We are all going to pass; there is no way around it. I can spend what time I have left smiling or spend it crying. I only see the two choices.

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What Are We Striving For?

There is a point where we have to let go. I have heard you can’t take it with you. If that’s the case, then none of it matters. Everything we have done, those we have loved, the critical things, it’s all by the wayside.

There are myriads of goals and the tasks required to achieve them. Are you striving for success? Recognition? Love? Do you want to support your family?

Are we fooled into thinking what we strive for is essential? Think of some of the most recognized personas of the past. Here are a few: Marcus Aurelius, Abraham Lincoln, and Indira Gandhi. They were powerful and influential people. Through their accomplishments, they gained the respect of generations of people. Guess what, right now, you and I are more successful than they are. You might ask yourself, “How can this be?”

The answer is simple – they are dead, you are alive. At this moment, you are succeeding; they no longer can.

Where is your life heading? Compared to what? Most of it is subjective unless, of course, your actions and decisions bring destruction to yourself and those around you. Then it becomes objective.

We recognize our transience, our mortality. We understand the inevitability of our demise. Most of us concern ourselves with the desire to slow its progression. Some medical studies seek methods to treat death as a disease, the ultimate malady.

Family And Friends

There is a social responsibility to the family for many of us who have children. We adapt ourselves to life’s circumstances, nourishing and protecting our legacy. In that, there is the hope of remembrance after we have passed.

The pandemic has dealt some of us blows. A close friend lost his father and two of his buddies from Covid. They passed in the span of a few months; right now, he is one broken person.

Dad once told me my grandfather was afraid of dying, even though he was a Christian and had assurances of his salvation. He felt that his past life would hold him back from going to heaven. I guess it’s a good idea to make your peace sooner than later.

One of my friends, a super generous and loving person, has left us. He contracted Covid-19 and passed from this earth. He was in his early forties. Only the good die young, they say. It puts it into perspective.

I have another friend who is terminally ill. The disease she suffers from is horrifying. Amazingly, she is content in her circumstances and is ready to go home. I think I got problems? I don’t have problems. Her testimony is an inspiration.

Do you think you have problems? Try getting some perspective, it might help.

What Does It Boil Down To?

There was a great king. Before and after his time, he had more wealth and power than anyone who had ever ruled his country. He controlled significant trade routes, amassed a large, capable army, and brought more prosperity to his people than they had ever seen. By the time of his death, the complexity of his political alliances, debt, and his building projects’ expense had fomented unrest in his nation.

The most important task he had ever undertaken was the search for wisdom. He gathered knowledge from across the world. Wanting to understand what it means to be human, he studied human nature. His study included self-realization, wealth, and power. He gathered servants and implemented massive national construction projects. Sex, debauchery, and hedonism were part of his forays. He researched oppression, understood loneliness, friendlessness, and rigors of over-working oneself. By the time of his death, he had done everything a human being could do.

The results of his research and exploration of the human condition? One of his conclusions was that our human endeavors are meaningless because we all have a common destiny.

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What Can I do?

All we are trying to do is make some progress each day. Some days are more productive than others. There are times when it seems we garner progress faster than at other times. The only person we can judge ourselves against is ourselves. We can compare ourselves to what others achieve or what we perceive as attaining. How are we different today as compared to yesterday?

I need to immerse myself in my goals and aspirations. As challenging as it can be, utilizing the technologies at hand is essential. Overlooking this aspect is a huge mistake, especially in the twenty-first century.

There is the need to examine what makes my chosen field function. What is its lifeblood, how does it operate, and how can I succeed? Let’s not forget about the individuals who make up this sub-culture. How do they interact as a group?

Attaining and refining this knowledge gives me the power of reality and heightens my ability to alter it.

And In The End…

Eventually, everyone stops bleeding; no one gets out alive. We are all aware that one day we will perish. All we care for and are concerned about is passing. As they say in The Game Of Thrones, “All men must die.”

Legacy? There’s not a whole lot. I’m not leaving many material things behind. There isn’t much debt, maybe a few hundred bucks. My will is all tidied up and ready to go.

What if I were to die tomorrow? Most of what I leave behind will be memories. Those are going to pass and fade. I want people to remember my tenacity and how I never let the dream die. There is always the hope that with enough effort, the right circle of associations, and fortunate circumstances, the desires of my heart will come to fruition.

I’m not yet ready to go the way of the Great White Whale. But when I am, let the fat lady be a soprano who sings an aria by Mozart that allows my soul to take flight with joy.

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