May 26, 2009
How Will You Be Remembered?
I turned 39 Saturday. My parents, wife, children, and I went on an eight mile hike on a beautiful, sunny day. We finished the perfect day off with dinner at my favorite restaurant. I remember thinking many times during the day how thankful I was for my family, my health, and my life.
The following day we visited the cemetery where most of my ancestors are buried. Since my grandmother died two years ago, one of my cousins has been documenting our family tree. As we all strolled around the cemetery, we found the gravestones of our great-great grandparents; they had been there for years - we just didn't know we were their descendents until recently.
As my oldest son and I stood before that gravestone, I let him know that most of the people standing around it wouldn't be here if not for the people buried at our feet. Yet before Sunday, I didn't even know the names of my great-great grandparents.
I didn't know my great-great grandparents, nor my great-grandparents - the last one died three years before I was born. However, just about 50 steps to the south of these people I never met was the headstone of my grandmother. My grandmother was one of the kindest, giving, loving people that ever set foot on earth. She was a tremendous influence on the kind of person I am today.
What in the world does this blog have to do with real estate notes? Well, nothing. I just couldn't help but think about the state of our economy and all the hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing going on because of it. My grandmother died penniless, and throughout her life never had much more than she needed to survive. She made it through the great depression and never forgot it - she was known to wash out bread bags, hang them on the clothesline, and re-use them. I can also say she was never unhappy. She always kept a positive attitude and realized her family was her most precious asset.
How will you be remembered? I know some very wealthy people who really have nothing else - they have pushed everyone out of the way to make that extra dollar. They gauge their happiness by the number of cars in their garage or vacations they take each year.
Death is the great equalizer - at some point these self-obsessed people will be just another gravestone in just another cemetery, just a few steps from someone like my grandmother. Come each Memorial Day, some graves will be covered in flowers, and others will be as they are all other 364 days each year...cold, gray slabs of granite completely ignored by all who pass by.
What will you leave behind for your family and friends? Where do your priorities lie right now? Are you there for your children, or too busy pursuing your own agenda to be bothered with relationships? It's not too late to mend fences if need be. Will you leave behind an inheritance or a legacy? How will you be remembered?
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