Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.
A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.
Have you ever thought about the legacy you may leave in the world, or the legacy someone else may have left you?
Back when I used to hang out with entrepreneurs and go to business conferences ‘legacy’ was a favourite topic. Everyone spoke about legacies, and usually that meant something impressive. A sizable donation to charity, an incredible book or breakthrough or innovation or body of work or longstanding business, and the act of having made your mark in a way that future generations might know your name.
But that kind of legacy is out of the grasp of many. It’s also often driven by ego, or a need to be notorious.
There is another legacy just as important, maybe more so. It’s the legacy of quiet acts of love that shape us in small ways. lasting ways, so that the memory of the giver lives on in our hearts, in our skills and knowledge, in our thoughts and behaviours.
Like the word ‘Lovelies’ – my darling maternal grandmother used to call us ‘her lovelies’, and the expression always lit my heart on fire. It made me feel so very cherished. Every time I use it to address you, I think of her. I hope you feel in that word a little of the love I felt when my grandmother addressed me thus.
Or like Mrs Mac’s Banana cake. Mrs Mac was the neighbour of my paternal grandparents, and she very patiently taught me to cook when I was a little girl. (You can learn more about Norma (Mrs Mac) and Mr Mac here. I wrote the recipe below when I was about 7. It has become one of my most cherished possessions, and it’s a recipe I have passed down to friends, and that I have taught to the children of friends. Mrs Mac lives on through this recipe, and my remembered stories.
Maybe your legacy will be an encouraging word, a recipe, a special knack for opening glass jars with tight lids, or the way you celebrate a birthday.
Or maybe you won’t even know that you are remembered. The thing that matters so much to someone else will have seemed so humdrum and ordinary to you, so much a part of who you are and how you show up in the world, that you will have no recollection of the thing someone else holds dear.
In the end, all that matters is that you found occasions in your life to share kindness, share a moment, share knowledge, uplift with a smile or a word of encouragement, or that you taught a simple skill or shared a little of your philosophy of life.
What will your legacy be? I hope you know you matter – perhaps more than you might ever realise. You have touched the hearts and minds of others, simply by having lived. And that will always be enough.
Love, fond memories, and profound gratitude for the beauty of life, Nicole xx
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