“Please think about your legacy because you are writing it every day.”
The quote by Gary Vaynerchuk definitely caused me to think. Whether it is intentional or not, we are writing our own legacy.
When I decided to write a book, I had no thoughts of this act being a form of leaving a legacy. All I knew, at that time, was that I wanted to help people by being transparent and sharing my story with those who it may help. I was only thinking of the people that I may reach during my lifetime, but soon, I realized that my book would far outlive me. I believe that if I would have understood that at the time, I would probably still be working on my book, because I would have been seeking perfection in fear of not putting out my best work. I would have suffered from paralysis by analysis trying to dig up enough research to speak into the lives of souls that are here far after I depart.
The mere thought of leaving a legacy may be a heavy load to carry, but if you transmute the negative thought into a loving opportunity, you will experience the joy of discovering just what beauty you can leave behind. The choice is yours. I found that my gift of legacy would be a simple blueprint of life by mapping out my experiences. I shared in my book and stage play my past hurt, disappointments, misunderstandings, and limiting beliefs to show others that no matter how far off path they are, that redemption is always available in one form or another. We can always change courses by first changing our thoughts to create the life of our dreams.
Often, we equate legacy with leaving monetary gifts, which is also a viable form of legacy, but legacy must never be reduced to one form. As a black woman and descendant of slaves, many in my culture have not been left anything of monetary value, but our ancestors left us so much more. They left us a legacy of a rich culture of love, family, responsibility, strength, and endurance. Though society paints an entirely different picture of the black community, the truth lies deep within our souls. Our families come first, and we maintain a rich closeness with our grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The black family embraces strong morals and values and set high expectations for our children. These characteristics of the black culture is a result of the rich legacy passed on from generation to generation.
Here recently, I was granted temporary guardianship of my five-year-old granddaughter while my daughter is away for military duty. I found myself asking God what is the purpose of my being a full-time parent to my granddaughter. I learned that this was not only teaching me patience but that this experience is also allowing me to instill in my granddaughter the valuable lessons that I have learned throughout my life. Just last month, I performed my first ever one-woman-show. My granddaughter was exposed to theatre life; up close and personal. She was there for all of my rehearsals and the premiere of my show. Though unintentional, exposing my granddaughter to my own personal evolution is leaving a legacy.
Whether or not we are thinking about it, we are leaving a legacy. My goal (and I hope your goal as well) is to intentionally leave a rich legacy that will outlive me for centuries to come.