They want to know how they’ll be remembered. They want to leave the world a better place than they found it. They want some part of themselves to live on.
It may sound crazy, but I’m not worried about most of that stuff. I don’t care about my legacy, I care about who I am and what I’m known for right now.
If I write a book, I care more about it being enjoyed by a thousand people today than a million people when I’m gone.
If I take a picture, I want to know that I’ve shared beauty with someone who needed in their life at this moment, not a hundred years from now.
If I don’t make a positive impact on people around me today, they’ll forget me (or wish they could) anyway. If I don’t help people become better, build strong relationships, take care of my customers, deliver top-notch work, be a good husband to my wife, a good father to my children, a loyal and trusted friend to those closest to me, what could I possibly hope for when I’m gone? By then it’s too late. By then I won’t care. The way people think about my life when I’m dead and buried won’t do a bit of good for me or for them.
Caring about my legacy seems pointless to me. If people enjoy the things I’ve left behind, I’m fine with that, but that’s not what I’m working toward. I’m working toward today, and tomorrow. I’m working toward a death that brings no regrets, and hopefully squeaks me in the door of heaven. I want to see the fruit of my efforts flourish while I still have eyes to see them, and then I’m happy to step aside in death and give someone else a chance. There is no ego in eternity.
The only legacy I worry about are the lives my children will lead. I want them to be good men and women who fight for what is right, who are kind, gentle, slow to anger and quick with humor. I want them to be problem solvers. I want them to be compassionate and charitable. I hope that they will be contemplative, pious, and virtuous. I pray that they will make the lives of all they encounter better for having met them. I want this not because I want, need, or deserve the credit, but because I love them, and I want them to be all that they can be. I want them to be loved.
As for the rest, it’s all so much straw. My time is now. So is yours. Don’t worry about what people will think of you when you’re gone. Make their lives better today.
Steve Skojec is a storyteller, writer, blogger, photographer, designer, and sci-fi fan. He is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. He lives in Arizona with his wife Jamie and six of their seven children.