If you were told the exact day that you were going to die, what would you do? I am sure your bucket list would be at the top of your to-do's, but how about your loved ones? Would you make a point to spend time with each of them doing the things you love to do together? How would you like them to remember your time together?
I came across an ad the other day by one of my favorite photography labs, artifact uprising. It was of a 95- year old man who wrote a book for his grandkids about his life. He talked about the book, why he decided to write it and why it meant so much to him. What struck me throughout the short video was the love for his family. His living room walls were covered in pictures from throughout his life. Then he said something that really resonated with me.
"I'm leaving them with values and I'm leaving them hundreds of photographs... all of which are very valuable to me. I'm not leaving them much money, very little. I'm using it all up, because i'm living on my own, but I am leaving them memories. With pictures, with letters, with stories that they have heard about. You can't put a price on that."
And you want to know something? He is SO RIGHT! You can't put a price on the stories of our lives and the memories we share with others. You know what else? Those are our legacy! Not just for our future children and their children, but for the world.
I fear though, that people don't value themselves and feel that their stories aren't worthy of being recorded in some way. I am here to tell you that they are wrong! Can you imagine if people during the last century felt that way? How would we know what their lives where like back then? The struggles they faced and overcame? The things they learned and cherished most?
EVERY life is worth recording. You, yes YOU, are special! Your struggles, accomplishments and influence on your family, and this world matters. Your story deserves to be recorded, if not for yourself then the generations to come, because there will come a day when you are no longer here. How will you be remembered? How will your grankids and their grandkids remember the impact you left on those you loved most?
Last year I had a rude awaking with that very situation. My grandpa, one of the greatest men I know, passed away just after Christmas. I miss him terribly, especially at this time of year. As much as I wish otherwise, he left no journals, no memoirs or videos, only a handful of pictures. My grandma remembers some of his stories from before they met, but only a few and not the way he did. I wish more then anything that I had a journal of his to read or video to watch to help me feel closer to him. I am however beyond grateful that I took the time to hear some of his stories in person and take pictures of and with him over the years.
It is so important to remember that we are the curators of our own story and as we live each day, we are writing our legacy. How will your legacy be remembered? On Facebook? Hidden on some cd or usb somewhere? In fading memories? Or will you leave behind something more?