For a person who loves history and writing, I have never thought about my legacy. When I try to, I am reminded of the people who had left legacies that have forever changed the world. We can think of the conquerors like Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Rameses the Great, and Alexander the Great; peace activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, and humanitarians like Saint Teresa of Calcutta, and writers like Tolkien and Jane Austin. Which of them thought about their legacies as they embarked on their journey?
I believe that for the conquerors, pursuit of glory, created their legacies. Alexander, Ghengis, Ramases, and Caesar had a thirst for glory and fame. How do we know this? Caesar and Rameses made statues of themselves while they were alive. Caesar, Alexander, and Genghis all had coins made with their faces on them. All these conquerors created their empires through the sufferings of others.
However I believe that peace activists like Gandhi and Nelson Mandela had a goal to end suffering not cause it. When Mandela was in an 8 x 7 concrete cell, did he think about his legacy I wonder. Did he want to be remembered as the man who would break apartied in South Africa? I believe instead, he thought about his goal; a free and equal South Africa and kept it on his sights until he achieved it. Mandela once said,“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.''
I think of Homer, Shakespeare, Edger Allen Poe, J.R.R Tolkin, Jane Austin, and even Dr. Seus as writers who in their own way changed the world. Whether it be in their writing style, the things they addressed, or both.
I think they loved the feeling of creating a world that doesn’t exist, but could; they want to get a point across about human nature or nature in general and share it with the rest of us. Homer described history in his own colorful way as seen in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, and Tolkin all wrote about human nature. Jane Austin, wrote novels during a time when female writers were not encouraged to write. She pointed out key problems in society and wrote in a manner to guide the reader to think about the annoying realities of life through humor. Tolkin, with his creative mind gave us a whole new world of wonder. I think Tolkin like all other writers loved his work as a writer. No other way could one create what he did. J.R.R. Tolkin is someone who inspired me to write better and write bigger; someone whose books became the greatest of all time (at least in my perspective).“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”. He said.
When Mother Thersa walked in the slums of Calcutta did she think about her legacy or about doing something she felt was right in her heart? She saw a world in pain and wanted to fix it. She once said “It is not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts”.
That word Legacy. It is the worry of being forgotten, of being a speck in the vastness of time, and no one knowing what I did to make this world a better place. To me, my legacy is about being passionate about something, exploring and being creative, and to put all the work into something meaningful that leaves the world a better place. The legacy is an aftermath of all the hard work we will do. We all have a legacy to leave behind, but what is important is that we do not focus on what we should be remembered for, but instead, focus on what we should do with the time that is given to us, as Tolkien once said.
Jane Austin: https://www.biography.com/writer/jane-austen
Martin Luther King Jr. https://www.biography.com/activist/martin-luther-king-jr