Kristyn Meyer is on a journey to make herself the best human that she can be. These posts are a reflection of that. She welcomes your support via reading and through commissioned affiliate links within her posts! To stay up to date on all of her shenanigans, please subscribe to her email list! (psst…there’s a free gift involved)
Leaving A Legacy And Why It Is Important
This week the world got the horrific news about the passing of Kobe Bryant, his young daughter, and seven others after their helicopter crashed into a hill in California during foggy conditions.
I’m not a basketball fan, but I know who Kobe Bryant was. Much like everyone in the world has heard about him and his accomplishments. It’s hard not to hear about someone who has done so much, like he did.
This event has pushed a thought to the forefront of my brain that has been simmering in the back for a while. For some time, I’ve been randomly thinking about what I want my legacy to be for my children and family members. At times I will start thinking through my accomplishments and then, almost as quickly, I stop.
I stop because of two reasons. The first being that I’m scared I haven’t even come close to completing the goals and aspirations that I would deem as my legacy and I don’t want to face that thought.
And secondly, do I really know what my children will remember me as?
There is a difference between your legacy and your memories. My children may remember the trips we went on, my mannerisms, the stories I read them. But a legacy is much more intricate. It’s what will stick with them as a learning tool when you’re gone. A legacy is what they turn to when they are aspiring to do things as you would have.
In my previous job, we were told to make our work our legacy. I struggled with this on many levels. Primarily because my workload wasn’t dictated by me. The tasks that I completed on a daily basis and the projects that I was a part of were passed down to me by others that occupied a higher authority level. The core of the projects were ones that I was proud to represent, but weren’t cultivated by me.
What was cultivated by me was my attitude towards the tasks.
The way that I approached the work, the quality in which I carried it to completion, and the excitement that I had in being a part of something bigger than me. All of that was my doing.
And when I didn’t have that anymore, I knew it was time to continue on my journey. I needed to find something to fulfill me in a way that excited me. What I desired was to feel proud of my work and have the feeling that I was truly making a difference. And I wanted those around me to see that about me as well.
All in all, I do still believe that while helping the cause that I was also creating a part of my legacy during that time. Even without having as much of a say as I would have liked. If I had continued to do that job my whole life, my children would have been able to look back and see that I was always willing to pitch in for a bigger cause, no matter how small the role. They would have the image of a hardworking mother that put her all into her work. And none of that is bad to carry on as a personal legacy.
But I wanted more. For me AND for them.
Since changing my work situation, that has happened for us. When I sit back and force myself to think about what I am leaving behind on this planet for my children, I am now more content than what I once was. I may stress about the things not yet accomplished, but if something were to happen to me tomorrow, I know that my children would still know the heart of their mother. Even with all of my goals not being completely fulfilled, I have laid the tracks for bigger things and greater conversations.
Even with that though, I have come to the realization that I can’t control what my children see as my legacy. This isn’t to say that this reality should stop me from thinking about what I desire it to be, but more that I shouldn’t stress over it. My own mother did many things in her life. She went through nursing school when my brother and I were still very young. She later went back to get a bachelor’s degree and specialized certifications. Her free time was littered with volunteer opportunities. She overcame many obstacles throughout her time on this planet.
But you know what I think of first and foremost when I think of her and the life she lived?
My mother would help anyone and everyone. She was always thinking about the well-being of her friends and family. During my college years she would send my friends care packages to their dorm rooms. The people that she cared for on a daily basis suffered from dementia, and she loved them just as much as their own families did. When I worked in foster care, she heard that there were disabled adults that were on my caseload that hadn’t yet been chosen by people for Christmas gifts. She ran out, got the rest of the family on board, and gave those guys an amazing Christmas.
Do I know that it’s what she saw when she envisioned our future? No, I don’t. Do I think she minds being remembered in such a way? Definitely not. So many times in my life I think about the situation that I am in and wonder how my mom would have handled it, because the compassion that she had sticks in my mind and I want to emulate that.
My goal is to continue pursuing my dreams while working to evolve into the human being that I want to be. Not just for me, but also for those I will leave behind someday. What my children take from my life will be up to their own reflection of our time together. But my hope is that because of the goals that I accomplish and work towards, I will give them lifelong lessons and experiences to think back on. Through all that I do, both personally and professionally, my desire is to give them reference points to guide them through situations that leave them without direction. As they are problem solving I want them to have past situations that come to them that include my actions or statements. I want to be valuable to them even when I am not here. Like my own mother is to me.
My hope is that my legacy will carry them through when I am not physically able.
And that is what I will work towards.