Leaving Legacies

Empreintes Robin Williams by Nananère (CC BY-SA)

Empreintes Robin Williams by Nananère (CC BY-SA)

I want to leave a mark. —John Green
Live today the way you want to be remembered tomorrow. —Dillon Burroughs
The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave. 
—Tavis Smiley
We’re all just songs in the end. If we are lucky.
—George R.R. Martin


Like real stars, the light of Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams continues to shine far after they are gone. They’ve blessed us with fierce independence, raucous humor, and creative passion that survive their final bows. And their passing begs a question: what enduring gifts will you leave the world?

Legacies are the work of a lifetime, which is why, once in a while, appointments and errands need to take a backseat to bigger questions like why are you here? What have you got to work with? What’s missing? What can you change?

This hopeful daydreaming is not a waste of time. It’s an essential investment in your health and happiness, which affect everyone’s future. Don’t wait for accident, illness, or age to force your perspective. Reassess your life now. What will your legacy be?


  1. I always go back to “be the change you’d like to see in the world”…and when I think about my legacy I’m always concerned that I haven’t done enough to leave a “significant?” legacy. That being said, I know I am a good person, I know I practice “paying it forward” and “random acts of kindness”. I contribute financially when possible and my time when needed and that will be my legacy. (along with “she died trying”) 🙂

    • Lol. I hope I’ll die trying, too! A legacy isn’t a concrete, finite thing like a building. It’s all your accumulated efforts, large and small, and it changes over time with others’ perspectives. I don’t think you can do any more than what you’ve described: being a good person, paying it forward, committing random acts of kindness, contributing time and money…. Thank you for all you do, Cynthia!

  2. Outstanding piece and very meaningful insight into looking within ourselves! Your 4th and 5th grade teacher of the gifted.

  3. “What will your legacy be?” What a powerful question – one that takes insightful thought, as well as time to separate the extraordinary from the mundane, Perhaps we don’t address it because it calls into question how we have spent our lives, or how we SHOULD spend our lives – both topics challenging to face. I have enjoyed a number of author interviews conducted by Tavis Smiley, and like his quote about the choices we make determining the legacies we leave. It really says it all.

    • I agree. Stepping away from mundane things long enough to reflect on the big picture is important, challenging, and easy to let slide. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply to Marcy Cancel reply