Billions of people have tried, or are trying, to make a lasting legacy. Many humans struggle with the idea that all too soon they will be dead, and eventually forgotten. No matter how generous you are, no matter how heroic, no matter how many libraries you name after yourself, what office you h0ld, or how many records you break: You will be forgotten. After 100, 1000, or 10,000 years your name, your face, your life, will be wiped from history.
Forgotten but not Gone
While the details of your life will fade into obscurity, you will by no means be gone (Where would you go?). Going on all around us is a constant exchange. We breathe in the air taking in oxygen. We breathe out releasing carbon dioxide. Rain falls to the earth, enters the soil, and is taken up by the roots of a tree. The tree uses the water, the carbon dioxide, and energy from the sun to create fruit. We then eat the fruit, and its digestion is aided by trillions of micro-organisms living inside of us. Nothing is stagnant. Nothing stays still. Matter and energy are constantly changing shape, changing hands, changing form, mixing, and melding. This process continues after we die, the only difference is that there is no longer an entity that is notably and recognizably ‘you.’
Our bodies leftovers, however, will not be the only part of us to remain. Every breath we take, every action, every thought, and every word, has an impact. Each day we shape and change the world around us. We all do, in fact, leave a legacy. The legacy is not one that can be easily traced, nor one that is easily perceived by our fellowman. But the earth knows. and the earth will never forget.
So, if you want to leave a lasting legacy, be mindful of your actions. Live each day with purpose, and take time to recognize your connection with every creature on this planet. Headstones will eventually crumble, but the earth, and her creatures, will be around for some time.