Richard Dama, LPC, Counseling & Clinical Hypnotherapy

THE BLOGS ARE BACK!! The Case for a Legacy

Welcome to my Blog. For those of you returning after the hiatus, welcome back! For those of you who are new to the Blog 3.0, welcome friends, and get ready for some fun, mixed with, hopefully helpful advice and insights.

I always hope to energize my readers to engage in a dialogue with me/us on anything that moves you to do so; so don’t be shy on sharing your support, dissent or even non sequiturs; all are welcome!

Also, for those used to essays of 1500 words or more, I’m sorry, but I’m going to do what I can to keep these epistles to 700 words or less.

Now to business.

Last week I came across a line that had a profound impact on me and I wanted to share it with you, complete with editorial comments.

The line was, “A ‘man’ lives only as long as the last person who remembers him.” That blew me away, both as an exceptionally well turned phrase, but also as a profound truth.

As a First Generation American, we have the advantage of having had our ancestors rather geographically contained, making it possible to trace the family tree back to the mid 1300’s; we have names and places (ethnicity and geography confirmed by a commercial DNA test), but we know nothing about the overwhelming bulk of the list other than those almost anonymous details. We have no idea who these people actually were; how they thought; what was important to them; what were they willing to fight for and what did they decide to let slide; for all practical purposes, they’re just names on a paper. Forgotten to even we who carry their blood inside ourselves.

The immediate solution to this situation, or problem if you’re so inclined, is to leave a legacy larger than ourselves; one that will live on after we’ve returned to dust. Ok, sounds reasonable, “Get out of my way. I have memorable stuff to do”. However, this too can become a double-edged sword (I’m a retired military officer, 20 years out of uniform and I still think in terms of strategic and tactical objectives and the resources available to throw at the problem), because we then have to decide what kind of legacy we are going to leave.

Bill Shakespeare observed in Julius Caesar, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” (Act 3, Scene 2). And thus we return to one of my recurring points; we have a choice as to IF and HOW we will be remembered. I wager that if you poll your mind for famous people, you will have as many monsters on your list as saints, probably more. For the purposes of legacy and from a purely objective perspective, Monster is as equally valid a choice as Saint . To quote Bill again, “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2).

So my friends, it seems that you have several choices to make (again, objectively, one equally as valid as the other), as to if you will live and work to leave a legacy, and if so, what kind.

The choice is always yours.

Here’s hoping you have an intentionally great day.
Rich

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