Monday, March 18, 2013

How will you be remembered?

Saroyan scarf - this is a fun pattern to knit!

Perhaps it is a bit strange, but I have always asked myself,

"What will be my legacy? What will the world remember about me when I am gone?"

Or, perhaps it is not strange, and that is a universal question. It doesn't have to be morbid, and one doesn't have to be nearing one's end to ask this question.  One of my favorite professors in college was a philosophy professor whose mantra was taken from Socrates: "The unexamined life is not worth living."

Well, let me tell you, I examine, re-examine, over-examine, and then examine some more. Am I supposed to be able to come up with conclusions, or is it all just in the examining? Where is Socrates when you need him? In truth, I am not sure I would be worthy of discourse with him, as we collectively have sadly neglected the development of our mental faculties in these "modern" times.  We no longer learn logic and rhetoric (I didn't learn it in school - did you?), and I fear Socrates would find me lacking in those areas, though I have embarked upon that path on my own and gone further than some.

So, I often catch myself wanting to know more, to learn more, to study more, and wondering what I will impart to others while I am here on this earth.  I hope, to at least my children, I impart a thirst for learning and knowledge, and maybe even wisdom.  I believe that a person will not be remembered for his machinations in the Board Room, or the conduct in the office cubicle that held him slave, but for the deeds done on his own time.

Time spent with family.  Time spent teaching others.  Time spent learning.  Time spent exploring.  Time spent creating.  Time spent giving.  Time spent laughing and giving laughter to others.  Time spent examining life and what we can do to make it better for each other.  These are the things I think people are remembered for.  Maybe for splitting infinitives. (Which is totally okay by today's grammar standards, by the way.) Or for dangling prepositions.  (Also a-okay today, according to grammarians.)  Maybe even for beginning sentences with conjunctions...

I am sure, by the time I am ready to depart this world for the next adventure, there will be more than one thing for which I will be remembered.  The children I helped to introduce to this mortal realm, for one.  Maybe also for the knitted warmth I will leave behind?

In the meantime, it helps to give focus to my living.  I ask myself:  "Would I like to be remembered for this?"  If the answer is no, then it is not a course of action worth following.  If the "love thy neighbor" imperative doesn't help, maybe the "Will I want to be remembered for this/for that/this way/that way" thought will suffice to shape the course of one's action(s).

Just maybe.
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