Most people over the age of 50 have a will, which is one form of legacy. But a true legacy goes beyond who gets your belongings. Leaving a legacy is a gift you give to yourself now so that family and friends will know and celebrate your stories when you’re no longer here to tell them. Creating a legacy is a journey through your past, gathering stories, lessons and joys so that you can both appreciate and share them.
Legacy is defined as something you leave behind. It can be a physical object, but an Intentional Legacy is one that goes beyond your possessions to include your values, your stories, lessons and hopes for the future.
Ann believes that a legacy is the most valuable asset anyone has, yet for many it is at risk. Why? Because it is being left to chance. Every day you make choices on what you will and won’t do. In aggregate they form your legacy. Do you choose to work late or go home for your child’s soccer game? Do you choose to watch another rerun of Friends or sit down with a pen and paper and write a legacy letter? Each of these choices writes a chapter in the book of your life.
Have you even thought about leaving a legacy? Or, is this a new or intimidating concept? In previous generations legacies were passed down verbally through stories. Grandparents shared with grandkids the wisdom and lessons they learned. They taught the values that had formed their character.
Leaving a legacy can take many forms from an ethical will, scrapbook, video, soundtrack of your life to plans for your memorial service. Ethical wills have been more common in the Jewish community as a way of sharing their spiritual legacy. Now this important activity is going more mainstream.