When I got married, I was 42 years old.
My wife was 38. One of the things we came to realize early on in our relationship was that we did not want to have children.
We both love kids. In addition to our nephews and niece by blood, we have a number of other kids in our lives which we are Aunty and Uncle to.
We also agreed that had we met ten years before we did, this might have been a very different story. Back then both of us would likely have wanted to produce kids. Now, though, we both determined that that ship had sailed.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people have opinions on this topic. My wife, more than I, has gotten the “but you’re so good with kids! You’d be such a great parent” speech. I have no doubt I’d have been a great dad…but I also know that, now, in my 40’s, I have become too selfish and too set in my ways to be a parent.
One of the main reasons to produce children is to pass on your DNA. You keep your family line going, create the next generation, and theoretically pass on what you have learned when you have kids.
It’s in our makeup as human beings to pass on a legacy.
Some legacies, however, are not so specific. Kids do not necessarily wind up like their parents in any way, shape, or form. That’s totally ok, because we are all unique individuals, and in some cases being other than our parents is better for us (and quite possibly the world).
As a writer, my DNA, my legacy, are my words. Hopefully, they’ll manage to outlive me.
A legacy in words
The books, the blogs, and even the journals I create contain who I am better than my DNA could, and likely will still be here after I am gone. These are the children I am producing and leaving to carry on after I am gone.
Cheesy? Maybe — but that doesn’t make it any less true. Whether words of wisdom, bad poetry, comedy, fiction, inspiration, self-help and mindfulness, or what-have-you, the words I write will outlive me.
Arrogant? No, because no matter whether you think my words are crap or helpful and inspiring, they are out there. This is not about my ego, because I don’t write for my own ego. I write because it is what I am inspired to do.
Yes, I desire to make my living off my words. But that’s not egotistical or arrogant, it’s following my passion. I love to write. When I sit in front of a blank screen, I may struggle for a time, but I always manage to find words to share.
Much of our history comes from words and art. One of the things that drives me the most nuts about how schools tend to cut funding for the arts and music, but support athletics, is the shortsightedness of it all. Do we remember who won Roman athletic competitions, or Roman art, words, and music?
This has nothing to do with becoming famous (though I’d love to have that level of success of course). It is all about my desire to inspire, educate, and help other people in this world, whether via my fiction or non-fiction.
Words make an impact
I have been inspired all my life by great stories. Books and movies tend to make me feel giddy, and I love good storytelling.
Paulo Coelho and Neil Gaiman are perfect examples of these sorts of writers. The words they continue to share open up imaginations. Imagination can inspire not just great stories, but a general sense of possibility.
The Universe is abundant, and overflowing with potential and possibility. Even a fictional story can open the mind to better see this. Look at how many ideas from the science fiction of 50 years ago or more has become reality now.
The legacy I hope to leave behind with my words is one of following your passion. Be as genuine and real as you can, because you only get a single shot at this life. Don’t let fear, depression, anxiety, or anything else sideline you.
I am another imperfect human being just like everyone else. But I work every day to be mindful, and in knowing my own thoughts and feelings share that with you. Whether fiction or non-fiction, I hope the legacy of my words helps others to be open to possibility and recognizing how powerful we each really are.
This is how I intend on passing on a legacy without reproducing.