Monday, June 06, 2005

Legacy Matters

My bloglines account is overflowing with good stuff I never seem to have time to reflect on here. I had a whole bunch piling up around the theme of recording our lives and sharing our current and past identities with those who care about us (and those that will care in the future, perhaps after we're gone).

I've been saving all kinds of gems from the Legacy Matters blog. I sometimes find it very grim to be confronted by constant issues of mortality, but the focus on deathstylism gives lifestylism a sharper edge. Jill talks about the scary implications of our imminent digital immortality, which could take all kinds of interesting (and mind-bending) forms. She also explores digital storytelling and the growth of scrapbooking, while drawing the parallel to Helen Barrett's work in e-portfolios, which overlaps with some of my own work interests.

I also like her advice about including digital assets in your will, which asks what should happen to all your online/digital writing, photos and e-mail once you've passed on. It made me realize how much of my life's artifacts are either out on the web, or saved on my work laptop...time to think about some better approach. Finally, this bit about the diaries of ordinary people talks about a movement in the UK from the 1940s where thousands of people kept notes about their day-to-day life. It's a treasure trove for their grandchildren and people who live in those places now, reminding me of a fascinating memoir project my mom is doing with a woman who grew up in England during that same era. Along similar lines, I've been enjoying the Blog of Henry David Thoreau, which provides glimpses into his daily life 150 years ago.

This marketing report on life caching is very business-oriented, but covers lots of the cool technology coming out for the purpose of recording and sharing our lives. It boggles the mind to think of how much personal digital content we're collecting -- just my blogs, photos and music are taking up gigabytes of space already.


Garth said...

My grandmother's death triggered my thoughts on legacy in the beginning of May. I posted a bit on it in my musings blog. Here's a recap as I think it contributes to your discussion:

"How does one best leave a legacy, a lasting impression on others - in particular, how does one leave a legacy for family? Each of us, I believe want to impact others in some way. We desire to be remembered and to be honored. Each life has a value, particularly if we live out our purpose, our mission, our passion. The people we remember are often people that have gone through tragedy, overcome difficult circumstances, and lived their lives in a way that others admired. It might be integrity, it might be courage, whatever the word that captured the person, somehow their life was an inspiration to others."

"I heard this story last year and it continues to resonate with me. A researcher interviewed a number of 90 year olds in a seniors home. He asked the question, "What would you have done differently if they would have the chance to re-live their lives?" He consistently found three reoccuring answers:
Risk more! Risk implementing new ideas, risk getting involved in more relationships, and just try more things! Reflect more! Spend time processing life, maybe even evaluating the previous weeks joys & struggles. Blog? Leave a legacy! Do as much as possible in accomplishing goals that had eternal impact. In other words - their epitaph would reflect something that they had done in life that they would be remembered for.
What a challenge & opportunity for personal growth!"


Jeremy said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing, Garth. It sounds like she had a long, full life, though.

Risk, reflect, relationships...all great advice.

Along similar lines, I also thought that Doug's post this week about the link between birth and death was quite powerful.

Jeremy said...

Thanks the book recommendation, Jille. It's not in my library, so I'll have to seek it out in the stores.

Your comments have triggered a thought I've been juggling around...something about the connection between lifestylism (choices based on our individual and collective values) and the impact of our legacy. I have to think that blind adherence to the American Dream wouldn't likely yield a very interesting legacy, whereas someone who has lived for the connections between themselves, their families, their communities and nature will probably have a more positive (and profound) impact. Hard to quantify, of course...and an unfinished thought.

Thanks for dropping by...