Legacies

Every once in a while I get a wild whim to do something different. In fact, there are days where I just want to let my free spirit take over and explore things that I either haven’t done or not done in a long time. It’s my escape from the stress in my life that is constantly driving home the reinforcements that I’m no longer as young as I once was. To be frank, age may be a state of mind, but there are days where the mind really has trouble digesting this fact, especially when the bones and joints complain.

I’ve watched so many loved ones die well before they should have. Cancer took many of them. Diabetes took one of them. Drunk drivers have taken a few of them. Heart attacks took the rest of them. Finally, old age crept in on a few people that I cared for but I don’t really count those because they lived full lives. So what does it mean to live a full life?

Many folks count the families they create among living a full life and that’s a part of the cycle of life. Without procreating the future, then it would be difficult to leave legacies. There are many folks, like myself, that can’t have children. Some of us settle down with those who already have had children and they become part of our world. Some of us accept that the future may not include children, and we have become bonded with other people who struggle with the same issues that we do. I have several friends who are women who cannot under any circumstances, have children. Their bodies won’t allow them to carry. There is a certain sisterhood with us. We understand that our legacies will be different than others in our families, and in our outer circles. The mark that we leave on this world, will hopefully, educate and fulfill others in their own journeys and presence in life.

Believe me when I tell you that if you don’t have children in this world, there is a very real type of discrimination. It isn’t fair but it’s true. I can’t tell you how many folks have assumed that my friends and I have kids and have no concept of how painful their comments of “How many kids do you have?” can be. Then most of us who don’t have kids get the “pity” looks. It happens more frequently than you may think. When society as a whole, stops labeling folks, only then can the world begin to understand that assumptions can make a lasting legacy of its own. I don’t begrudge anyone with children. I do however wish that a sensitivity chip could be administered to those who assume that having children is the best way to leave a legacy behind. What’s more important is what we do for society that will leave a lasting impression on the future generations than to worry about why someone does or doesn’t have kids.

One of my friends has been told point blank if she gets pregnant, more than likely she will die. This doesn’t bother her near as much as her boyfriend who is adamant that they foster or adopt as opposed to her trying to have a child. They have had serious discussions about this issue. They are choosing to not have children. She is pursuing a field in law. Her next few years are going to be completely compounded with studying and working. She’s at peace with her decision. That doesn’t mean that it makes it easier on her when people ignorantly ask her why she won’t have a family. In many ways, this makes her want to fight the injustices of discrimination and propels her in ways that others cannot begin to fathom.

On the flipside, I’ve seen children who have done more in their lives with more exposure than many of us who have lived much longer than they have. When I have watched some of these talent shows, I’m constantly amazed at how these kids, have the talent and drive to show what they are capable of. They don’t let fear determine what they are able to do. They are the teachers who remind us of what can be done if you live your life without fear.

There are the artists of the world, who can make any object look either beautiful or ugly in their eyes. They are able to put their drawings, sculptures, paintings, and other masterpieces to life. Their work becomes their legacies. The stories they tell transcends time. It teaches us not only what they were feeling at the time, but also the beauty or ugliness of what was going on in their lives. It’s an open book to their soul.

I’m reminded every time that I look around me of the legacies that exist because of sacrifices that were made. History is jammed with stories of those who fought for our right to disagree. For every single person that the history books name, there are thousands of stories that never got told because the people who were behind the scenes, never were brought to the forefront. No one dared to utter their stories and if they did, no one really paid attention. Why is it that we have to get so creative in order to leave our legacies behind?

In truth, a legacy is a long lasting footprint that we leave on this earth. Some footprints fade much sooner than others. But the legacies that we leave speak volumes about how we wish to be remembered. I hope when my time comes, people remember that I had a good heart, made mistakes, tried to learn from those mistakes and would do anything I could to help a friend. I plan on being around awhile but none of us know how long we have or what kinds of footprints we will leave in the long run.

Sometimes we have no idea what we want our legacy to be.  I think in the long run what's important is that we leave our mark on the world to make it a better world for everyone.
What do you want your legacy to be?

I watch how others treat one another. I even watch this behavior in myself at times and recognize we all have bad days. We all can get testy, be gracious, loving, snarly, frustrating, adventurous, and a vast array of emotions. That’s why it’s important to put yourself into something that brings you peace. For me, it’s connecting with all of you through the blogs. For others, it may be songwriting, poetry, art, singing, dancing, martial arts, woodworking, culinary, sewing, designing, etc.. The point is express yourself through what you love. Be the footprints in the concrete that take a while to disappear. You all have a voice. Let the world hear it.

It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing something. You may feel like no one will appreciate what you do. You may even feel that you aren’t good enough for something. If you never try, you’ll never know. If you never practice, you’ll never get better. There was once upon a time I couldn’t cook. Now I can at least make quite a few meals without having to do frozen dinners all the time. It’s cheaper than going out to eat and a lot healthier too. I constantly practice at cooking. It’s never been easy for me but there are folks who make it look so easy. Maybe that’s why I’m being your silent cheerleader right now. I know what it’s like to let fear win. That’s why I’m reminding all of you that you can do anything you set your mind to doing.

I can’t wait to see what some of you do for inspiration. Each of you are inspiring me. I read many of the blogs from the folks I’m following and vice versa. There’s a feeling of understanding in the blogging world. We all have things to say and are grateful for the venue to express those thoughts and emotions. Never forget how special all of you are. I know each of you has talents. Use them to create your own legacy.

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