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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Legacy

Unfortunately, I ended last week by attending a funeral. My husband's friend lost his mother. As I sat there listening to all that she accomplished in her life, I began to think of what really matters. People remembered her unpaid service to others, her easy laughter and her positive attitude. It made me realize that I have spent a lot of time over the course of my life worrying about what people think and other things I can't control. I rarely give thought to what I want to be remembered for. What is it about me that outside forces can't control or influence? What stands out despite my law degree, my big fancy job or my quaint townhouse? Now that all of those things (save my law degree) have been or might be stripped away, who am I?

I think we all theoretically want to make a difference in the world. Yet, we spend a lot of time focused on the pursuit of the paycheck and worried about what our boss, our neighbor, the cashier at our grocery store, our doctor, and so on think of us. Most of us tailor what we say or how we express our feelings based on what people will think of us. Its only our true essence that will be a treasured legacy for those who survive us. The freedom of our belly laughs, the meals prepared and occasionally burnt, the willingness to admit and comeback from failures, the real love we gave. It will not be in the stylishly appointed outfit or the biting your tongue to spare another's feelings while trampling on your own. At the end of your life, it will not be about the people who thought you were a little uncouth. It will be about those who loved you most and their appreciation for knowing someone who lived in free pursuit of their best life. That's the real difference we make in the world. Its what we remember most about those we love and what they will remember about us.

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