Before I even start, here is the prompt:
Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.
This thought has been plaguing me sense I was a freaking kid. I’ve always been aware of death. It’s lurked in the corner. It’s like that scene in Annie Hall:
Doctor in Brooklyn: Why are you depressed, Alvy?
Alvy’s Mom: Tell Dr. Flicker.
[Young Alvy sits, his head down – his mother answers for him]
Alvy’s Mom: It’s something he read.
Doctor in Brooklyn: Something he read, huh?
Alvy at 9: [his head still down] The universe is expanding.
Doctor in Brooklyn: The universe is expanding?
Alvy at 9: Well, the universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!
Alvy’s Mom: What is that your business?
[she turns back to the doctor]
Alvy’s Mom: He stopped doing his homework!
Alvy at 9: What’s the point?
Alvy’s Mom: What has the universe got to do with it? You’re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!
Doctor in Brooklyn: It won’t be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we’ve gotta try to enjoy ourselves while we’re here!
I never really expressed it like little Alvy Singer, but I always thought it. One day I came to the point that I need to do something in which I can be remembered.
My first idea was to be an awesome NFL star. I was going to be the next great defensive tackle. I was going to be so epically awesome that one day I would be elected into the hall of fame and be forever immortalized.
Unfortunately for me I’m barely 5-10 , slow, weak and hate getting hit. I wasn’t going to make it in the league.
My next venture was to try and make it in coaching. I even went to an FBS school in hopes that I could transition into some sort of coaching job after graduation. I thought maybe that would be my route to the NFL and the Hall of Fame – as a coach.
That didn’t quite work out either. Academic troubles forced me out of my school (twice) and I had to find a new route to the fame and glory of immortality.
It was at that point I really dug into my writing. There is a couplet at the end of one of my favorite Shakespeare sonnets that really illustrates how I feel about writing and how it can immortalize the writer (and the subject):
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Writing as the power to do that and I had to take part of that. I had to learn how to do that. And I think I do that well.
Writing will be my key to everlasting existence, even if it is just in the hearts of the people close to me. Hopefully the legacy I can create in text will be a far-reaching venture.
Here are some other people who responded to the prompt: