I get a lot of slack for being too serious or not having enough fun. I readily admit that I have a stick up my butt the size of full grown oak tree but there are several reasons for that. One reason I can be such a prude is, legacy.
We are all leaving behind a legacy that was never possible before. With the advent of the Internet, we are now leaving a trail that will forever follow us, even after we’re gone. In 2,000 years your bones will be dust but that image of you drinking a beer will live on. And is that how you want to be remembered? Is that the legacy you want to leave here on earth?
“Here lies John Doe. He liked arguing with people on screens. He spent most of his life looking at his phone. His preferred attire were shorts since he enjoyed exposing his legs for the world to see.”
“Here lies Jane Doe. She liked complaining about everything, talking about what she’d like to do and never actually doing it.”
Life is so short, so fast that, as soon as your born, your’e just counting down the days till your death. I don’t mean to come off as a nihilist, but just honest about the limited time we have on this earth and what we can accomplish in that short time. My truth is, we live on this earth for a short time to prove we are worthy to live in the next life for an eternity, but that’s another story for another day. What we are talking about here is, what we are leaving behind, on this earth, once we’re gone.
Before, humankind didn’t need to worry too much about this. Either you were a king or a pauper and the former would live in the eternal hall of fame that we call history. But not so anymore. Now, everyone, from the leaders of the world to those that clean their toilets will have some type of legacy left behind, a record, that shows what that person did with their lives, forever.
Given that we now have this huge, daunting, pressure of legacy that is now on all of us, you would think that mankind would do a better job of reaching for their goals, but sadly, we are not.
I think that it will take about a century or two for people to appreciate the legacies that we are now leaving behind. In a few decades we will all be dead. And at these funerals will be scenes of us holding beer bongs and wearing fake mustaches at weddings. Maybe there will even be a 15-minute slide show to showcase all the food and drinks you consumed that you thought were so important to share.
That’s the legacy we are leaving.
What about children? Yes, that’s how we pass on our genetic legacy but it has nothing to do with what we have actually done. If your proudest moment of accomplishment comes from the fact that you got drunk and horny and forgot the condoms a few times, I’m sorry, but that’s not really climbing Mount Everest.
And while your genes may live on in your children and their children’s children and so on, your memory will be all but forgotten to everyone who knew you since they will all be dead too. All your future decedents will search up who their great-great-grandparent was and see someone who enjoyed taking pictures of their feet while on vacation.
There is so much more to you than that, to all of us. It’s scary, I know, but we have to try. Even if you don’t succeed in reaching your dreams, at least you will be better remembered as someone who tried than someone who just went through life, coasting on whatever path was made for you.
That’s why, for me, my writing has become so important.
For the last two to three years I have rarely gone out. Few parties and nightclubs. I mean, sure, I have gone to them and will continue to go to them, but I’m there for a half hour, tops. It feels like such an empty waste of time. I have spent the last few years writing a novel, particularly, on weekends when I have more time. While it might seem crazy to be “working” on the weekends, it’s actually been fun…for the most part. Trust me, there have been more days of me doubting myself and wanting to stop than those few, special days when I feel “flow” and the words just come out and I feel like a complete human being. Fleeting, but worth it.
My book might sell five copies. I am terrified that it will be horrible, something that my friends and family can throw in my face for the rest of my life. “You worked on this garbage? You do have a legacy all right Tony. It’s called crap.”
But that’s just my inner-critic, my Daily Dragon, doing what it does best. I may not leave a legacy of great work or art, even though that is my dream. My legacy might very well just be that I tried. But that’s good enough for me. More than most can say.