So much of my work was presented using PowerPoint and I had binders and binders of my presentations. I was very grateful when a friend volunteered to store them in his garage, rescuing them from the garbage man. I may never see them again, but who knows if maybe someone else will see the value? It was painful to see the examples and resources I’d gathered over the years go. My subject is rather esoteric and complicated (systems thinking and organizational effectiveness) so my collection is somewhat unique.
I’ve created several libraries, in my time. One I was fortunate enough to sell (my spinning and weaving and natural dying books from my time as a retail store owner and weaving/spinning instructor). The systems and organizational books are still a library seeking a home. The information is so specialized and now so hard to find, much is out of print, but it is still as insightful and useful as ever. Finding an appreciative new owner is not easy.
When I buy something I shop until I find something I can’t live without. This means that I really like my stuff! When I moved into my RV I stored my books (100 boxes worth), my dinning room set, a few odds and ends, and the 1800 bedroom set that belonged to my daughters great grand mother – the bed her grandmother was born in. It was strange to get these things out of storage. There were things I’d forgotten and things I was sure I had that I didn’t. The new house was the same square footage, but a different configuration, so the old furniture didn’t fit.
Loss happens in so many ways. Some is memorable (like my son’s death) others are small pangs, still others linger. The memory of things with history (the antiques) or meaning (my life’s work) seems to linger long after they have actually gone. I am so attached to my life – to what I’ve made of it and to the choices I’ve made that watching them disappear brings alive the illusion of life.
My daughter does not want the antiques that I cherish. She is the end of the line of both my ex husbands and my own linage, so there is no one else to give them too. They will become ‘used’ furniture and see another life, short or long, who can say? All the meaning and attachment gone into thin air.
I’m left looking at my life and wondering what will last? I’ll be a memory for a few folks, my work will evaporate as the memory of others fades. The cherished belongings will become dust in someone else’s storage or just dust. How many of my own memories will I bring into the next life? It all comes down to reassessing the value of a life – my life. The value doesn’t seem to be in the things I’ll pass on to my daughter or the memories that keep me warm at night. I’m left with It’s a Wonderful Life in knowing that I have made a difference for a few folks. I have made some things better for my being here. I have definitely deepened my own understanding of how things work and how to make them work better (I can only hope I take some of that knowledge into the next one!), but it is the subtle things I’ve done that are my real legacy.
I was able to heal a rift with my son that was 4500 years old (about time don’t you think?). I’ve dealt with a few other karmas as well. My liver cancer taught me how my own thoughts and attitudes affect my body. I was lucky enough to actually see and understand how that works – I still have to learn how to let those beliefs go. I think I’m a bit closer to accepting that life is more than just achieving something.
What’s interesting is that I love Life! I just love being here, seeing the sun come up, the water flow, the breeze blow and hear the trees whisper. There is something about being alive that is just wonderful! I think that all the other stuff is just what we do to keep ourselves amused while we enjoy the beauty. I have enjoyed the beauty! I’ve loved every minute of my life – even the sad and hard parts! I’ve been so awfully luck in so many respects that I have nothing to complain about. My only regret is that I haven’t shared what I’ve learned more than I have.
How about you? What’s your legacy? What have you learned in your time here? Leave a comment – let me know.