I’ve been pondering my legacy.
I realize that sounds heavy, but everyone leaves a legacy. Some write books, record music, create art, or star in a TV show or movies that folks enjoy decades…maybe even centuries…after the person has left this mortal coil. On a lesser scale though, “regular”, “average” people bequeath gifts that are less widely celebrated but just as cherished by those in their orbit. Many leave behind children & grandchildren. Some lived life in such a way that their friends & family can share great stories about various adventures. Others have a level of professional success that leaves a trail for others to follow. We all have the ability to do little things like say a kind word, impart some homespun wisdom, make people laugh, and be involved in things to improve the greater good or make someone’s life better.
This train of thought came about after the recent passing of my old college pal Rob, a fraternity brother that was almost exactly the same age as me and who died tragically in a motorcycle accident. He & I had a lot of fun back in the day. We had only spoken once since then, a few years ago when we first reconnected via social media and he called me on the phone. We had a very pleasant conversation in which he tried to convince me to come to Montana and go skiing with him. After that we interacted the way most people do…online. But despite the lack of recency in our relationship I must admit that I cried the day that I found out about his death. To be honest it has affected me in a way I would have never expected. Other people I have known fairly well, worked with, or attended school with have passed on, but this one hurt on some deeper level. Many of my old friends on Facebook have expressed similar sentiment, and everyone has fond memories of Rob, who was a genuinely decent man.
“But what does any of that have to do with The Manofesto??” you may be asking. Well, let me explain.
I came to terms a few years ago with the idea that I am probably never going to get married or have children. Professional success not only has eluded me, I no longer crave it in any way. I just want to be able to pay my bills, feed myself & my dog, & maybe have a few nice things or go on some fun vacations. Doing work that I enjoy with colleagues that I like & respect would be a great bonus. So what about my legacy?? What is left?? The way I see it there are two things.
The first, and most important, part is the way I live my life and my relationships with people. There’s so much I could say about all of that, but this isn’t the time. I recall reading something awhile back that said “live your life in such a way that when you die the world cries and you rejoice”. How does one accomplish that? Lots of ways. Be kind. Smile. Example Christ. Laugh. Be a physical manifestation of The Fruits of the Spirit. Choose words wisely. Forgive. Uplift. Celebrate. Stay positive. Ignore worldly stupidity. When I take a good, long, hard look in the mirror I don’t always like what I see. I can do better. I will do better. For myself. For my family. For my friends. To honor my friend Rob. To honor God.
The other, lesser part of the equation is The Manofesto. It suddenly occurred to me that long after I am gone this blog will still be here. I’m no Doc Brown or Mr. Spock, but I can’t imagine that cyberspace is going to disappear anytime soon. Technology certainly changes. When I was a kid I used to tape songs I liked from the radio onto cassette tapes. Thirty years later I digitally download songs onto an overpriced phone. But I’m still listening to some of the same songs. Decades from now I don’t know how people will access information or how The Internet may evolve, but I think it is possible that The Manofesto will still exist. Assuming that is true it forces me to ponder content and consider things thru the prism of posterity. Heavy indeed.
I haven’t done one of these updates for a couple of years, mostly because I get mad at myself for saying I’m going to do something and then not following thru. Eventually I concluded that it is best not to tell people what you’re going to do…just shut up & do it. The flaw in that slaw in that there is no accountability. No one can ask me whatever happened with this or that if I never promise anything. That’d be fine…even preferable…if I wasn’t a motivationally challenged procrastinator, but I am so it’s not. If The Manofesto is to be part of my legacy (and it irreversibly is at this point), then I need to buckle down and finish what I start, be mindful of substance & subject matter, and respect the responsibility that I have taken upon myself.
None of that means that we aren’t still going to have some fun. I want to write about amusing things like movies, sports, music, & my fanatical love of Christmas. Putting a smile on someone’s face in the midst of a tough day or making a person chuckle a bit and lightening a surly mood is part of the mission…even if it’s my own tough day or surly mood. However, I also want to use this space to study God’s word and pontificate on other significant matters. I’ve done a bit of that, but not enough. I want to learn. I want to help y’all learn. I want to make you think. I want to read more books and write about them. I may or may not want to expand into writing some fiction. I want to grow The Manoverse. Maybe someday I’ll write a novel or finish a screenplay. Maybe I won’t. For now this is it, and if that’s the way things remain I think I’m alright with it.
Legacy is defined as “a gift transmitted from the past”. We all have skills & abilities. Most of the time they don’t make us rich & famous, but when used correctly they can have the power to make the world just a little bit better one person…one day…at a time, not only in the future but right now. What will your gift be??