Everyone wants to be remembered. To feel that we’ve somehow left our mark on the world seems to stir something deep in our soul.
What will be left behind when I’m gone?
Inevitably, at some stage in our lives, we all ask ourselves “what will be left behind when I’m gone?” How will people remember you? Positively? Negatively? Or will they remember you at all? Asking these questions of yourself can be difficult, even a little frightening, but you will find yourself asking them – if you haven’t already! Such questions, and the emotions they evoke, are what drives us to want to leave a legacy. You are likely already planning to leave a financial inheritance to your family. Your legacy, however, means so much more than material things. Your legacy will be how you are remembered by your loved ones, friends and the community around you. Here are 5 ways of leaving a legacy.
Curate Your Family History
Even in these digital times, we’ve all got a collection of family photos. Some of them go back a hundred years or even more. Have a look through them and ask yourself if you know who all the people in the pictures are. Chances are you won’t. We know surprisingly little about our grandparents and great grandparents. A recent study by Ancestry.com found that one in three adults couldn’t name any of their great grandparents and one fifth had no idea where their grandparents were born. By becoming the curator of your family history, you not only build your own legacy, but help to create one for your ancestors. An easy way is writing the names of all the people you know on the back of your photos, and who they were.
Research your ancestors and start a family tree – there are a wealth of online resources to help you glean information. Taking a DNA test is an affordable and increasingly popular way of finding out what your roots are – you may be surprised by what you learn! It’s a great way of leaving a legacy.
Write Your Story
Have you ever thought about how much your family actually know about your life? You may think you have lived a relatively uneventful life but every single one of us has amazing stories to tell. Putting your history into words in a private autobiography or memoir is one of the greatest ways of leaving a legacy. It is a gift to your family that they will treasure for generations to come. Write about what you have experienced, your parents and grandparents, the times you lived in and the lessons you learned. Writing your memories down mean that when you are gone, your memories will live on.
If the idea of putting your life into words is daunting, then LifeBook Memoirs are here to help. We are the world’s leading bespoke memoir and autobiography service and our team of experts will work with you to create a beautiful book that will tell your story how you want it to be told. Your story will fascinate your descendants, forever connecting you to them – a wonderful legacy – that future generations of your family will always cherish.
Here’s what LifeBook Memoirs Founder, Roy Moëd, had to say about legacy…
Contact us today to find out more about starting your memoirs.
Those around you will remember you most by how they interacted personally with you. What did you tell them? What wisdom did you share? By positively mentoring others, you’re not only helping their development but encouraging them to become mentors too. You may think you don’t have knowledge to impart but try and you’ll be surprised. We all have experiences and advice we can give, whether it’s just supporting those around you or something more formal with students, workers and budding entrepreneurs. Whatever the setting, set a great example at all times. Being a role model for your family, friends, colleagues and community inspires them. Surely, one of the best ways you can leave a legacy.
By volunteering, you can make a massive difference to the lives of those around you in your community. And you don’t need to spend any money to do so – there are many organisations and societies near you who need your skills, passion and time. There are countless ways you can help – cleaning up your local park, work in a charity shop or assist in a food bank. Whatever you do, you’re going to change lives and you’ll be fondly remembered for it. And it’s not only good for your legacy, but the health benefits are enormous. Research shows that it decreases stress and the chances of developing depression, keeps you mentally and physically active and can even help you live longer. You are living your legacy as well as leaving it. You’ll make lots of new friends too, helping to spread your legacy far and wide.
Although bequeathing an inheritance to family members can be a powerful gesture, crucially, most of what we leave behind are memories. Who we were, what we did, what we believed in. A wonderful way to leave a legacy is by contributing money to a charitable cause that is important to you. Using your money to improve the lives of others is something your loved ones and community can see the tangible results of, often for decades to come. There are many ways you can donate or otherwise contribute to causes that reflect your beliefs. Gifts left in wills are a major reason why charities can operate and run their services. And philanthropy isn’t just for millionaires. It’s not the size of the gifts but the way they are used that really matters. Whatever is close to your heart, by giving you are bequeathing your values, not your value.
These are just a handful of ways to leave a legacy. The actions and choices you make from now until you pass away will help define what your legacy will be. You don’t just leave a legacy – you need to live it. By doing so, you’ll get to see the wonderful benefits of what you do while you are still here, and the results will help to ensure your memories are preserved lovingly for many years to come.