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How I Would Express my Legacy

Updated on September 14, 2015

Despite my young age at 22 years, I have often thought about my legacy since I discovered Existentialist philosophy. By no means am I an pure Existentialist but when I first heard "man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, or what he could have" (Satre, 2014) something clicked; I am this or that cannot be described accurately until I pass. I may be a hero today, but tomorrow still awaits. My legacy-- everyones legacy-- depends upon tomorrow until there is no more tomorrows. Thus, in other words, we are always in a state of constructing and deconstructing our identities down to our very last breath. How we are remembered depends upon the cumulative force of our character (to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson). Too often we see stories in the papers about how local or national heroes are arrested as rapists or pedophiles or murders: once praised human-beings sunk to their depths, and such a label as "rapist' 'sex offender' or 'murderer' are not easy labels to overcome even over the course of a lifetime. After those making those choices, they literally become those choices. So, they were once a hero, and then a criminal: who are they, really?


As I have been going to school I have been the manager of a local car wash and I have met tons people. Most of them are complete strangers and yet there are a few that have come to know a little bit about me, and I of them. There was this guy that would stop by all the time driving his two brand new BMW speedsters. He would come in, never say a word, leave, and come back the next afternoon. But one day, he didn't come back. He didn't come back for 3 months. When he finally returned, he rolled down the window and started talking to me for the first time. I said, "Long time, no see. Where have you been?" He said, "Well, I had quite the scare. I had a health-related problem that put me in a coma for 3 weeks. When I woke up, I saw the world in a completely different light." He proceeded by telling me that he could have died and then that would be it. He said that his beautiful house, his cars, and other luxuries didn't matter to him any more. He said, "all these material things are meaningless; nobody can take this things to the grave-- they all stay here." He said he wanted to be focus the rest of his life on becoming a better person. He said that "I am writing my obituary everyday. When I go, I want people to see my name in the paper and say, "He was a great guy." I can't tell you how many times I have seen very successful and wealth people I knew that when they died, I heard people mummer "He was a bastard anyway," I don't want to be that kind of person."

Ultimately, I agree with him. I am writing my obituary everyday and I am always in a state of becoming. I do, however, have aspirations to leave behind even more than just memories. I want to leave behind my journals, notebooks, coin collections, and personal items to my family. The purpose: "So long as men can breathe and eyes can see, so long lives this and this gives life to thee." Through my writings, my legacy can live on and a little part of me will always be there with my family. Therefore, I may be gone but I may not be forgotten.


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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 20 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      May you have a long life to figure out your legacy. I have a progressive disease, and I have been blessed to see in my life what is really important. I see friends missing the whole point. I want to touch as many people as possible and bring as much love as I can, and do as much as I can for others in need. Great Hub, and we will all continue to grow. Stella

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Long ago, I heard a lecture on TV by a philosopher explaining the meaning of the "pursuit of happiness". He said that to the US founding fathers achieving happiness meant being satisfied with your whole life when dying. That concept is similar to what you say about legacy.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      A powerful message: "I am always in a state of becoming." Thank you.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      A legacy of loving remembrances is what I'd like to leave. An interesting hub.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Legacy certainly can be important.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I have the journal of my husband's great grandmother and although I never met her I feel like I knew her through her writings.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 2 years ago from Texas

      I have buried several people lately, and have been in charge of writing 3 of their obituaries. It has given me thought on what someone would write for me. I like your statement "I am writing my obituary everyday". I believe everyone would like to be known as a great person upon their death, and it is only while alive that we have the chance to make a difference.