Something handed down from an ancestor.
What is your legacy? What legacy will you leave?
Recently I read an article that will soon be published about my paternal Grandmother. She was a piece of history in the mid 1930's. An African-American woman born to a native West African man and native Maine woman, my Grandmother was the first African-American graduate of a Massachusetts High School. She went on to study at a prestigious African-American School, Fisk University and graduated in 1942. My legacy. She would go on to marry a college educated man - an Alabama Pharmacist. Simply amazing in the 1940's for African-Americans to achieve such goals. They weren't alone. My maternal Grandparents as well, both completed college and graduate degrees. My maternal Grandfather had to drive from Louisiana to California to achieve such.
When I speak of my life as a failure, I don't measure it up against my peers, I measure it up against my ancestors. These four individuals received college degrees, obtained professional careers, helped others (including children and disadvantaged groups)and raised children. Those accomplishments came when they were up against a world of people just because of the color of their skin. Based on history, I can only imagine the people and obstacles they met in order to achieve the things that they achieved. Did they complain? I will never know. Did they make it above all obstacles - yes, because I am their descendant. Did they leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren to follow - yes.
Have I lived up to their legacy. No.
I've obtained my degree plus a few more years of higher education. I've published news articles in three different states' newspapers. I've helped children and the disadvantaged. Yet, I sit behind a desk most of my day twiddling my thumbs. Spending my days thinking about the obstacles I have before me. Single parent. Low cash flow. Undesirable location. Female. African-American. No connections to powerful people. No chances. Searching and not finding the right position in life. How dare I sit there and ponder the thoughts. I'm up against myself, yet my Grandparents were up against wars and physical roadblocks. Their lives were likely on the line many of times as they traveled to get to their goal of simply attending a college course.
What is your legacy?
As I always say, I'm no psychologist or expert on life - I'm just an ordinary person. While I'm no expert, I do believe whatever your legacy is - it is worthy of reflecting on. It is worthy of building on. It is worthy. If your legacy looks like mine - don't waste it. If your legacy is the opposite - create a greater legacy for your children and grandchildren to inherit. As for me, I'm speaking my greatness into existence.
I have life left and I'm going to leave a continued legacy for my descendants. My name may not be on a building or a street sign, but I will leave a legacy.
Go do the same.
Worthy Note: My parents were pretty amazing people too. Civil Rights era history makers themselves.