Baby Boomers and Beyond Focus on Lasting Legacies

With Memorial Day fresh in our memories, it’s a good time to reminisce about loved ones and focus on the legacies we would like to leave behind. And for those over 50, the desire to create a legacy may be more compelling than ever.

When I grew up as the youngest of the youngest, I recall attending a lot of funerals at a very young age. This is not as morbid as it may sound. In fact, being exposed to death regularly when I was small, made it seem less evil and more a natural part of the life cycle. This acceptance was due in large part to the fact that the guests of honor had lived long and full lives I am sure. It was also due to the perspective of the church I attended. We were instructed that the day of death is far more important than the day of birth as it was the sum total of what we had achieved in life. And though it was in some respects a somber event, it was a time to rejoice in the accomplishments and the legacy that the dearly departed had left behind.

The services were frequently quite inspiring as I learned from loved ones and ministers how one life had evolved to impact so many. Frequently, I found that the service left me focused on my purpose and my values. Often I would leave the funeral parlor or the cemetery planning how I would change my life in order to be remembered in a certain way. The service to me was not so much about death as it was about the life that had been lived and the life lessons I could draw from this individual’s experience. The clarity of who I wanted to be and what was important in life has never been as clear to me as it was on any number of these occasions.

Do you remember the pivotal line in the movie, Saving Private Ryan? Private Ryan’s guilt just melts off the screen, and all he desires is to stay and fight for the men that saved his life. The Captain, however, fully aware of the lives that were lost in trying to find and bring home this one soldier,  encourages him to return to his family. “Make it count,” he tells him. And Private Ryan does just that. He goes on to live a fruitful and heroic life in honor of those that sacrificed on his behalf.

Memorial Day sort of has the same effect on me. It reminds me that there are many men and woman who have given their lives for my freedom and my safety. I owe it to them to be the best that I can be and make the most of my life. They don’t expect me to feel guilty or even mournful; they expect me to honor their gift with the best life that I can live. It’s all about creating a worthy legacy that will make their sacrifices meaningful. It’s about honoring their legacies and inspiring future generations to build their own.

Happy Memorial Day! Now let’s make it count.

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One Response to “Baby Boomers and Beyond Focus on Lasting Legacies”
  1. Travis Pike says:

    Excellent article. Appropriate and very well put.

    I, too, think about my legacy. Not my financial legacy — I put my “estate” in trust. But in terms of what I leave behind to enrich the lives of others and through them, enrich those people who come after them. If I was extraordinarily wealthy, I could do things that might more positively impact more people’s lives — and many wealthy people do just that. Sometimes the institutions they found bear their names and feature statues of them outside the walls, but more often than not, the gifts are anonymous or the donars cited in no more than a palque that few ever see or read.

    I write. I hope my writings get a wide distribution and the lessons in the tales I spin are entertaining. But I also strive to insure that the history, pathos, humor, comedy, irony and satire that permeate my tales will provide new windows through which my readers may view their world and new doors through which they can boldly pass on their way to discovering their personal adventures.

    And should my efforts fall short of my goals, I am comforted to know that my attempt has kept me off the street — if not entirely out of mischief . . .

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