Don’t Be Forgotten
We toil through the day, seeking success and glory. What will it matter in the end? Will you have people to leave your wealth to, and how many generations will it last? Inheritance, of money and property, is often sold and spent within a year of your death. Your legacy is not what you leave behind, but how those you leave behind remember you.
“Greece got along fine before I was born. And Greece will remain Greece long after I am gone.” — Achilles (Troy, 2004)
It took a few decades, but Aaliyah’s death just hit me. I almost said that it’s sad that my daughters — all born after the star’s death — wouldn’t get to experience her life and achievements the way I did. But everything I know about Aaliyah is from interviews, music videos, and movies. That footage is still around.
Will you fair so well through the ages?
What will your legacy look like
I won’t try to tell you the sort of legacy I think you should leave behind — that’s your business. I will say that you should be thinking about it. You have no choice but to leave a legacy. Soon, it will be too late for you to influence that narrative.
Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs. — Steve Saint
How you spend your days will determine the matter of your story. Spend them wisely, working for or on something that will outlast you. That’s how you control the narrative.
How will your story be told
Every person’s life makes a difference. We live in a unique age where that difference can be captured for future generations to remember, even if you didn’t have as much impact as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
My grandparents only remembered their grandparents, plus any stories they told about their ancestors — only the ones who did important things would have stories told about them. Sadly, that means that many female influences on history have been lost to the patriarchal worldview of our ancestors.
My parents looked at photographs and asked who certain people were. What does it say about someone’s achievements if the only reason we remember them is that they stood next to someone more important to take a picture?
I have home videos of our parents and their friends. Not much better than pictures, but at least it has audio.
My children will have YouTube videos, confessionals I film on my phone, and the millions of words I’ve written to remember me. Thankfully, I will instruct many future generations of my family, so long as my work stays relevant. I pray I serve as something more than a cautionary tale.
It doesn’t take very long to be forgotten, even by your own family. Do incredible things, record all of them, and document it. Always be documenting.
If you intend to leave behind a body of fiction, don’t waste time on trial and error while getting it published. Get no-nonsense publishing advice from a former publisher and free yourself up to keep creating.