These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thoughts on Tuesday

At the end of our life, we ought to be able to look back 
over it from our deathbed and know somehow the world is a 
better place because we lived, we loved, we were other- 
centered, other-focused.    
~Joe Erhmann, Football coach

I've been pensive since my sister's death. A pretty normal response, I think, as losing someone close to us unsettles our lives and causes us to find new footing in the path. Without that person, the balance of weight in our vehicle of life is different, and if we don't re-balance, chances are we will crash.

One of the things that has played over in my mind is reflected in the above quote. It is important that we live our lives so that our mark left behind is the one we wish to be representative of our lives. I've pondered for many years about what my legacy would be for those left here when I pass on. I hoped it would be that I would be remembered for my kindness and wisdom. Why those?

I value kindness in people around me, and, of course, I know I can't expect to be treated with kindness if I'm not right in there with them, so I've tried to be as kind as possible to others through my life. I haven't always succeeded, sometimes because I plain ol' screw up and am thoughtless. Sometimes I've lashed out in anger. Sometimes I've not understood a person or situation and wasn't kind because of sheer ignorance. It happens. But I've tried really hard, and I've tried to pass that on to my children. I believe in teaching children by example.

I accept people for who they are until they prove to me that they are operating from behind a façade, from behind a mask. "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, you're outta my life." I can forgive human error; we all make mistakes. I can't forgive someone who plays on my trusting nature. Up until someone stomps on my heart, my ethics, my beliefs while knowing what they are doing, I'll be that person's best defender and protector. When I know they know they are abusing my kind nature, it's over.

I believe everyone should have the right to their own thoughts and beliefs, and if we disagree, I'll just avoid going to that area of disagreement. Once I see people don't have the same respect for me, I will put distance between us. Believe it or not, this is not usually done with anger or malice. I do it so I don't have to be less of the kind person I think .... I know .... I am. Living in dissonance hurts the part of me that is kind, and I consider that my essence.

As for wisdom, I don't mean I want people to remember me as "smart." Wisdom goes beyond intelligence, in my opinion. Smartness is something you learn from books, not a bad thing at all, but it isn't what is most important to me. When I talk about leaving a legacy of wisdom, I'm referring to the ability to learn from and put to use the practical lessons of life. What I've learned about life, about people, while using my kindness to relate to others is what is important. Smart is knowing it is 20° outside; wise is knowing I have too many coats to wear, so I give one to the woman who is trying to get by with a sweater and a jacket. Intelligence gives me the facts; wisdom helps me use those facts in a way that makes the world better for people, myself included. Brain power brings me facts; combine that with empathy for others and it is something useful and legacy-worthy.

To me, wisdom is paying attention to surroundings and events, and learning what works and what doesn't, then using that knowledge to apply to my daily interactions with others. It means not repeating behaviors that are damaging. It means being the best person I am capable of being, as consistently as possible. It means living in a way that makes my relationships with others as good as possible. It means modeling for others what I've learned.

These ideas are nothing new with me. They've been part of who I am since I was a child. Well, not that I thought about them, especially the wisdom part, as a kid, but because my mother was who she was and modeled these things, I internalized them from an early age. That's what I've tried to do for my kids. I didn't always succeed. My son and I have some "issues" to work out, but I know because of his response to certain things in our lives, that he "gets" it at a base level and is just struggling with how it applies and plays out in our relationship.

I know these practices have been in play in my life because as I've encountered people I knew earlier, they often say to me that they remember me as being one of the kindest people they ever knew. I treasure that. And when I talk to people I've worked with, I often hear how much they learned from me, how much they trusted my directives, and how watching me or listening to me has helped them to perform their own tasks in their careers. Those things make me know I've accomplished my goals pretty well, so far.

A while back I was talking with a friend who is a psychic. In the course of the conversation I asked her what my legacy would be. She was thoughtful for a few seconds and replied, "Goals, change, wisdom." I like that.

What do you think your legacy will be? How do you hope to be remembered?


  1. Yours sounds pretty darn good, gf!

    I suppose without all the thought and detail that you've put into it ~ loving, caring, nurturing ~

  2. This blog was very well written, thought provoking, and a gentle reminder of what is important.
    All one could add is "above all do no harm."

    I will try to be kinder in your honor.

  3. I guess my legacy would be pretty much what you said Lyn. I would want to set a good example for my children even as adults, as my mother and grandmother did for me. They were both kind and giving with a wonderful sense of humor. And taught me to do many things, as well as not to be afraid to teach myself. I guess that would be the legacy that I'd like to leave behind. I would love for my family and friends to be able to laugh at the silly things I have said or done through my life. What a great funeral that would be! Love Di ♥

  4. Thanks, MM. And good ones, yourself.

    Merikay, a good addition. I like it.

    Di, I've told my kids a similar thing. I said to do what they must for themselves, but to not dwell on the sadness. After whatever ritual they need to go through, I want them to go somewhere casual, comfortable, pop a bottle and have some good food and tell every funny story they can think of about me. I want them to celebrate my life, not mourn.

  5. Kindness and Wisdom sound ideal qualities to me and I so agree with what you have written. Reading about your sad loss makes me realise what is important in life, and today that is much needed. It puts things into perspective for me. I'd like my legacy to include laughter and love as well as kindness and wisdom. So I had better cheer up. Thanks Lynn

  6. Great to see you back. But I'm still playing my Hawaiian and tropical CDs here at work, a practice that was originally inspired by reading about your trip. Hopefully you brought back some good Hawaiian music with you too.

    My legacy? I dunno. If I had one, I guess the words fun, different and loyal come to mind.

  7. Freda, After losing a number of people close to me, you'd think I'd be better about taking advantage of every moment to connect with those still here, but I guess that's one of my human errors. Yes, we should pay attention. And yes, cheer up, dear Freda!

    Dave, I did bring back some music, but not enough! I looked for some artists that impressed me, but couldn't find a place that carried their CDs, so I'll be buying a couple more on line soon. Nice stuff! And I like your legacies.

  8. Heard a jazzy version of "Please don't talk about me when I'm gone", I kind of like that!

  9. Moni, I haven't thought of that song in a long time! Yeah!

  10. I don't know what it will be, but I want to be remembered as someone who was kind. I really try to be kind and understanding of people I encounter. Like you, I've not always succeeded, but I do try.

    I hope I will also be remembered as someone who loved to laugh and enjoyed life.

    ~hippo hugs~

  11. Good values for legacy, Pam. I love to laugh, too. makes life so much better, doesn't it?

  12. legacy....

    That people with issues should go to therapy...if I could impart that on my family I would be happy...drawing the line of 'molestation stops in this generation'


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!