Hi everyone. Happy New Year! I’m back.
For the first quarter of 2022, I’ll be looking at getting older. This month we’ll explore legacies. As we reach middle age, and beyond, many of us start to consider what we’ll leave behind. How we will be remembered or forgotten. So, what’s your legacy as a gay man.
What is Legacy?
Let’s start by defining what a legacy is. According to Merriam-Webster the essential meanings of the word legacy are:
1: something (such as property or money) that is received from someone who has died
She left us a legacy of a million dollars.
a substantial legacy
2: something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past
He left his children a legacy of love and respect.
The war left a legacy of pain and suffering.
We discussed the country’s legacy of slavery. [=the ways in which the country is still affected by slavery]
Her artistic legacy lives on through her children.
For our exploration, this month let’s simply say that a legacy is something left behind. How can a gay man leave a legacy? We really can’t help but leave one, so let’s have a look at how.
Legacies are About Impact
As we move through life we can’t help but affect the people around For some people it’s profound, cultural, even global. For most of us, it’s smaller. But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t having impacts that will last long after we’re gone.
Every action you take, every person you interact with, even in the smallest way has an effect. We even impact random strangers with kindness or cruelty. The ripple effects of those interactions are part of what we leave behind.
When we make it more personal, those influences are more powerful. Connecting deeply leaves far greater impressions. We sometimes powerfully sway our loved ones with our behavior and ideas.
If you’re in the public eye everything you write, or post on social, will have an impact. Every interaction with a client has the possibility of shifting them in powerful ways. That how you leave your legacy as a gay man.
We Can Never Know the Ripples We've Caused
With each exchange, no matter how small, we change the world. We can never know what that change will be as it ripples out from the people we’ve touched or the organizations we’ve shifted. The further into the future the ripple goes, the greater its influence will be. Until the ripple subsides.
My practice is a good example. Sometimes, during a single complimentary session, I can share an insight that shifts something in the person I’m coaching. I can be aware when it happens, but not always. The change may affect my client’s behavior, or the way they think about themselves, or relate to other people. Others will be impacted by them and therefore by me.
We Can All Leave Behind a Better World
All of our choices impact the world. Choosing to act out of love, compassion and wisdom move things in a positive direction.
The more influential we are, the greater the shifts will be, and the more we need to consider how we’re changing the world. Make the conscious choice to be better.
If there are children in your life consider what you’ve modeled for them. Are they aspiring to be better people because of how you’ve led your life? If there’s anyone who looks up to you, have you become a role model so that your mission continues after you’re gone? That’s a beautiful legacy.
It's not About Being Remembered
Being remembered isn’t the point. Even great historical figures are only remembered partially. We get the tiniest glimpse into the person. It’s their ideas, and impacts, that we feel.
Your legacy as a gay man doesn’t have to be monumental. To make a difference in the world you just had to live true to yourself. Discovering who you really are, then having the courage to live as that person is the way. If you do that, every person you touch becomes part of your legacy. A legacy only you can leave.