I just returned home this afternoon from a funeral for a family member. This person died far too young at age 55. This man loved life and was a good father, husband and friend. He cheered on his hometown football team and loved to have his family around him. He left behind a wife, two sons and a daughter.
I felt saddest for his daughter, who is only 13. She will miss out on sharing so much with her dad. As I thought of them I was reminded of the wonderful relationship they had built over her life. That is a legacy that he leaves to her that will be a part of her forever.
My legacy for my family
That got me to thinking about what legacy I want to leave, to my family and to this world. I want my husband to feel that we had a beautiful love that was perfect in its imperfections. Full of highs and lows, hard work and blessings. I want him to know that through it all we grew stronger together. That I always had his back no matter what.
As for my children, I want them to know that their mom loved them with every cell of her body. That I was forever committed to growing into the mom they deserved and that I wished to be. I want them to know that my relationships with them was one of the highest priorities in my life.
Most of all I want them to know that their mom saw them for who it is they truly and uniquely are. That I celebrated and cheered them on every step of their lives. That I was there to celebrate their victories and help them fix their mistakes. I want them to know that my love for them had no bounds. That I believed deeply in each of them. That I wished nothing but for them to be happy, healthy and to make this world just a little bit better by being in it.
My legacy for others
I want others to know that I worked hard to be the best friend, neighbor, colleague and family member that I possibly could be. That I tried to leave every interaction just a little bit better for having been a part of it. I want parents all over the world to know that my mission in life has been to help them have the kind of relationship that I had with my parents and that I am now building with my children.
I want everyone to know that though I cared deeply about others and helped as many as I possibly could, the person I loved most in the world was myself. Of course there were days when I was too over-scheduled to take care of myself. But my own well-being was the single highest priority in my life. And I believe that each person should be their own biggest priority.
What legacy would you like to leave?
When you figure this out for yourself, it will give you such clarity around the way you spend your time and what your values truly are. And once you know that, it becomes so much easier to make decisions that are in alignment with your values and the kind of legacy you want to leave. This will move you even closer to living your life on your terms. You only have this one life, how do you want to live it?
So I ask you – what legacy do you want to leave?