As a former journalist, I probably think about death more than the average person. After all, writing your own obituary is par for the course in Journalism 101. Too often, I’ve read and written headlines about a young person gone too soon and they’ve always left me thinking: what will my legacy be?
Recently, I interviewed a mother whose daughter died 11 years ago in a water taxi accident. Every news article I read about her daughter spoke about her kindness, her love of life and travel and desire to support women’s education. That was her legacy and her family created a scholarship fund for young women following in her path.
And it made me wonder what my family and friends would say about me in the event that I passed away suddenly. I can only hope to be remembered as caring (albeit a little crazy), fiercely loyal to the people I love and passionate about empowering young women.
Sure, 15 minutes of fame on Instagram or the social media platform du jour is fun. But does it really matter? When you’re gone, is anyone really going to care that you have 1,000 followers? Exactly.
Now, I’m not saying you have to go out into the world and cure cancer (although if you do, that’s friggin’ awesome!), but perhaps we should all have greater aspirations than becoming the next Kim Kardashian.
Not everyone is equipped to, nor does everyone desire to, start a nonprofit or campaign religiously for social justice. And that’s quite alright. But we can all, no matter who we are or where we are, do something to make a difference and leave the world a better place than we found it.