You’ve Got To Have Friends
It’s springtime and everything is growing a new. What better time to reflect on the past and start preserving your legacy.
Legacies do not belong just to the rich and famous, the politicians and movers and shakers, or the CEOs and captains of industry.
Legacies ARE created by the teachers, the caregivers, the public servants, the servicemen and women, the retail workers, the office workers, the blue and white collar workers, the volunteers and the parents – all who gave of themselves for the betterment of others and made our society a stronger place.
But where to start? How do we actually put into words the legacy we want to leave?
In his TED talk, “How To Write Your Own Obituary,” author Brad Meltzer breaks legacy down into relationships, and he identifies four significant groups: Friends, Family, Community and Strangers. Mr. Meltzer emphasizes that your legacy is found in the things you do for other people. “That is what lasts,” he says, “I believe ordinary people change the world” and that is what your legacy will be.
So, think about your relationships. Let’s start with your friends.
“The character of a man is best known by the friends he keeps” – Aesop
Who were your friends? How would you describe them? Did you have many or few? Was there a common thread?
My husband and I became part of a group of friends through our mutual love of playing volleyball. Though we were from many different walks of life, this group of friends shared a common ethos of spirit, competition, laughter and healthy living, and over the years we became supportive of each other not only on the court, but off it as well, attending weddings, hosting birthday and holiday parties, taking trips together, helping each other transition and providing emotional support through difficult times. Though we don’t see one another as much as we used to, anyone of us can pick up the phone and call another, and pick up right where we all left off.
Did your friends influence you? How? What decisions did they encourage or discourage you to make? Did you influence them? How?
When my husband and I first met — long before we dated, we were friends. We attended group events, we joined the same tennis group (in addition to volleyball), and occasionally we went out platonically, all the while I was dating other people. On a trip with my college girlfriends, I lamented that I wasn’t meeting the right men. They asked me why I wasn’t dating my husband at the time. “I can’t date him,” I said, “he’s my friend.” They said, “duh!!! That is what you want!” You know what? It’s been 20 years of marriage and they were right! No question that these friends influenced me in a way that I couldn’t see for myself.
I knew my husband had hit the big time when one of our friends shared with us that when he faced a dilemma, he asked himself, what would my husband have done, and then followed that path. Who could ask for a higher compliment or a more significant legacy?
Did your friends change over the years? Are there any who truly have been life-long friends? What is special about them?
There is something comforting about connecting with childhood friends, and Facebook has been fantastic in helping us reconnect. Though friends from childhood have gone in so many different directions, I love seeing how our lives have evolved and the support we continue to provide each other through social media. My BFF from my childhood grew into the powerful person I knew she would be, even when we were only 8 years old. Some of our friends became community leaders and others became scientists, teachers, doctors, police officers, and civil servants. Many married and had children who are now bringing up the next generation. But we all love reminiscing together, and who doesn’t?
Open your My Life’s Message account and start preserving your legacy — preserve your memories of your friends for your family.
Speaking of family, next month we’ll tackle those complicated relationships!