Should We Be Concerned With Legacy?

When thinking about your life, is it valuable to think about your legacy? That is, should it matter what you leave behind you after you die?

In life, there is an advantage to having people think well of you. It can help attract good, thoughtful, productive people to you. It can help remove obstacles. Overall, it can make your life easier and more pleasant.

However, that advantage would seem to disappear after you die. How your memory lives on doesn’t confer any direct advantage.  There may be some indirect value to your family and loved ones, but that gets harder and harder to quantify as time goes on.

That approach is largely transactional, however. Is there a strictly moral component? Is it important that you are remembered as a good person after you die? If so, how much of your time and resources while alive should be devoted to trying to secure a legacy of some sort?

After all, we all have a limited amount of time and energy in our lives. How does the priority of establishing a legacy place against other earthly concerns? Like food and shelter, or accrual of wealth or status, or feeling contented or fulfilled? Or does how you go about fulfilling your daily needs become part of your legacy?

Is the idea one of the first things you abandon when faced with tough choices about life? To put it another way, is thinking about a legacy a luxury that only the upper class get to consider?

Do you think about how your name will outlive you? Do you take steps in your daily life to alter that? Should we be concerned with legacy? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

Related questions: What gives a person value? Why do we care what strangers think of us? How do you think others see you? What gives you purpose? What are you doing to make the world a better place?

How Do You Deal With Loss?

No matter the color of your skin, your socioeconomic background, or the country of your birth, one of the things we all have in common is loss. At some point, we all will have to struggle with grief over the loss of a friend or loved one.

Typically, you might experience the death of an elderly family member, like a grandparent or a great-grandparent. As you age, and the people you know also age, death becomes more frequent. There may also be an unexpected death from someone who dies earlier than expected.

Eventually, if you get old enough, loss may seem like a nearly-everyday occurrence.

The way that loss is dealt with varies by the individual. There are the publicized five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But there are other ways to feel grief, and the order and severity of symptoms of loss can vary drastically from person to person.

Loss is not something that typically has any sort of formal training or instruction. And yet it is something that each one of has to learn to deal with. We each will feel the sting of family members, friends, pets, neighbors, spouses, and sometimes even children.

Processing your feelings can lead to a healthier psyche, and a more fully-lived life.

How do you deal with loss?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose of life? What do we have in common? Why are people afraid of death? How can we turn sadness into constructive action?

What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?

So far, no one has ever lived forever. Death comes for us all. When you are on your death bed, what do you want to have done before you die?

These things can fit into a few broad categories.

First, there are specific activities that you would do. Perhaps you want to experience the thrill that comes from jumping out of a plane. Or running a marathon.

Some people call this a “bucket list” — that is, things you want to do before kicking the bucket. Do you have such a list? What is on it? How long a list is it?

You have direct control over this list, of course, both what items get added as well as which tasks get performed.

A second category are things you would experience, but not necessarily do yourself. You might hope to see a child get married. Or have your favorite sports team win a championship. Or experience the first human on Mars.

Obviously, you have much less control over these events. The main thing you can do is probably to live long enough to increase the odds that these things will happen before you die.

Another category includes generalities. Perhaps you hope to leave a lasting legacy to future generations. Or be remembered fondly by your friends and family. You might want to embody a particular trait, like generosity or punctuality.

You have some control over these outcomes. However, your desires and reality may not always agree. Maybe you want to be generous, but you simply don’t have the means to do so.

Have you given any thought to how you want the rest of your finite time to play out? What do you want to do before you die? What are you doing to make these hopes come to pass?

Related questions: How do you define success? How do you set priorities? Why are people afraid of death? What is your favorite experience? What book do you mean to read but haven’t?