Retirement has allowed me to think more about the legacy I would like to leave behind. Reading the newspaper each day is a reminder that that we live in a violent, unsettled world. The obituaries are filled with deaths of people much younger than I am. One thing is for certain, time is precious.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we all are remember things we are thankful for in our lives. But shouldn’t we be thankful each day that we live? It is so easy to focus on the wrong things. We are so busy being busy. Family times are great times to think about what important values or memories we want to leave them with.
Early in my career as a teacher, I received some professional development on Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. All of the habits were useful for life in general or with a career in mind. The the second habit stuck with me. I learned “to begin with the end in mind.” One of the most interesting thoughts in the book was envisioning and attending your own funeral. The book takes you through who you would want to speak and what would they say about you.
Whatever stage you are in life you are in, it would be a valuable activity to spend some time thinking about. We all have a legacy to leave to others. What do you want them to remember about you?
It is never too late to change. Legacy is more than money. It is anything that is handed down. Each new day is a chance to add to the legacy. Write down those family stories, put those pictures in an album, write down those family recipes, reconcile with estranged family members, volunteer to help out at church or an agency, invite someone over for coffee, spend time with your family or write that letter to a loved one. The list is endless.
You don’t need to wait for retirement to think about your legacy. Don’t put it off.