A Google search for the definition of Legacy is as follows: something (such as property or money) that is received from someone who has died
: something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past
Several years ago while watching Iron Man, the topic of legacy caught my attention. While being held hostage in a cave an being faced with certain death, Yinson advised Tony Stark that his legacy would be weapons and destruction. Tony realized he had all the money in the world, but nobody to share it with. He was a man who had everything, but nothing.
Now I am far from a man who has everything, but nothing, however, I started to reflect on my own legacy, and how I would be remembered when I am gone from this world.
I immediately looked to my father, who is 74, can barely walk, and has stage 2 Alzheimers. He came from the generation where you worked for a factory until you were 65, retired and that’s it. He had no plan for life, no legacy, nothing. He did spend a good portion of his life as a functioning alcoholic and a gambler. His legacy for us is hearing the Pennsylvania Lottery jingle and thinking of him. I am in no way mad at my father, but deeply disappointed.
I then decided it was up to me to create a legacy for my children, my wife and the world. I want a tower to the sky with my name on it. My goal is to not only leave a financial legacy behind, but one that will echo my name for generations. Why? You might ask. Well, why not? If I don’t do it somebody else will. I do after all, live in the freest country in the world. Why not do something extraordinary with life. Create a legacy that will live on long after I am gone.
Several years ago I thought I had made it, nice house, cars, great job. However I was still left feeling empty. I was always asking, “Is this it? Is this the American dream? Work for 45 years and hope that one day you can retire and enjoy the last 15-20 years of life. No thanks. I’ll pass. If creating a legacy means making sacrifices now so I can have the a life of incredible meaning later, sign me up.
I now strive to create something to leave behind that will help enrich the lives of others. It is and will be a difficult journey, but it’s better than the other option of working for 45 years to make someone else rich. I once read that Andrew Carnegie had written a goal in life, to earn one million dollars, and give it all away. Hmmm, sounds like a noble endeavor. So, I’m on it. Earn a million dollars and give it all away.
What is your legacy? What are you building right now that your family will remember you generations to come? It doesn’t always have to be money or property or other treasures or trinkets. But do make it something that will enrich the lives of others.
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