Leave Something Behind

By | June 18, 2020
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Leave Something Behind

This may seem morose to you, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the world will be when I’m not here anymore. The world will go on and take no notice of my demise. So, that got me thinking: What will I leave behind when I leave this world?  It’s important to me to know that I will leave behind something or a lot of somethings that would not have been if I had never walked upon this lovely blue planet, Earth.

I see so many people saving money, accumulating wealth, saving for retirement, or leaving money to their children and grandchildren. But I can’t believe that’s all our lives are meant to be. Is that all we really want to leave behind? Money? Property?

Money was here before we were born, and it will certainly be around, in some form, for a long time after all of us are gone. So, leaving wealth behind is not leaving something of ourselves behind. We didn’t really make it – it just changed hands. I want to leave something behind that wasn’t here on the day I was born; something that wouldn’t have been here if I had not been born.

I certainly have not lived a perfect life; I’m pretty sure some will be glad to see me gone – and many others won’t care. That is how it is with many of us, I’m afraid. But one thing I know for sure: I’m leaving behind a lot of things that were not here before I was born.

Anyone who, like me, has children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren…should endeavor to leave behind something that would have never been here had we not been born. So if you have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, you are leaving something of yourself behind.

I have children and grandchildren and I love them all very much. I will leave them behind when I die; they are all part of me. So in that way, I’ve changed the world because I was here.

Billions of people change the world by having children, but far fewer change the world by leaving a part of themselves behind.

I’ve written over 100 songs, dozens of poems, hundreds of essays, and short stories. I’ve saved a lot of them and they’ll survive me. Someday, after I’ve passed away, my kids will read some of the things I’ve written and in so they will have a look inside my head. And reading what I’ve written or listening to the songs I wrote will remind them of me and the good things about me, or the silly things about me. Maybe they will see some of the things I’ve written as my successes and others as failures. What I hope most of all is that what I’ve left behind reminds them that the world is a little different place because I was here. And also maybe encourage them to leave something of themselves behind.

To me, it’s important that all of us try to change the world, even if only a little bit. If we don’t, I’m afraid it will be as if we were never born. Even if we leave children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren behind, we still need to leave other pieces of ourselves behind so that those who survive us can know us better.

It doesn’t take much to leave something of yourself behind. You don’t need to be a great writer or painter, you don’t need to be handy with your hands, you don’t even need to be creative.

You can write a letter and keep it hidden so someday someone will find it and know you better. Just write down your thoughts on a piece of paper and then keep it safe and do your best to make sure no one sees it until you want them to see it. See? You don’t have to be an artist or a writer or a poet or a craftsman to leave something of yourself behind. Remember anything and everything you leave behind changes the world, even if only just a tiny bit.

If you’re good with your hands, make a quilt, or make some pottery or build something. Anything you leave behind is part of you because it would have never existed unless you made it, and it would have never existed had you never lived.

Most of us do not think our existence will change the world at all. Most of us who are not rich and powerful don’t expect that the world will even know that we existed. Sometimes it seems we don’ have the power to change the world at all – but we all do.

If you leave just one thing behind that you made yourself, then you’ve changed the world. Maybe only a little bit, but you’ve changed it by adding something to this world. And that makes a difference.

You can do a lot of other things that do leave your mark on the world. Just think of all the things you could do to make the world a little different,  even a little better.  Even leaving a letter behind lets others share your thoughts. And it will bring back memories to those who love you.

You can start a tradition of giving, or you can paint, or you can write a book, an essay, a short story, or a poem. You can write a song, or make pottery or build something.  Or, you can just take time out to write a special letter about yourself and how you feel about things. Write something from your heart that will live on. Write about things you accomplished, things you did, places you visited, your favorite memories. Share the dreams, both the ones that came true and the ones that didn’t. Write down how you feel about things, what you think about when you look back on your life.

Leave something behind, and we all change the world if only a little bit.  hat a shame it would be to leave the world without leaving something of ourselves behind.

Think about that… today is a good day to leave a little something of yourself behind. Think about that. Maybe something you leave behind will make the world a better place – or maybe it will just make someone a little bit happier.

7 thoughts on “Leave Something Behind

  1. David Barber

    What a beautiful, thought provoking essay. After reading your essays, I’m always a little wiser and, I hope, a better person.

  2. Patricia Mccosker

    I have never kept a diary of any sort in my 82 years but after reading todays essay from TC I have decided that keeping a sort of diary from now on will be something I can leave behind to my family for me to be remembered a little bit now and then
    I will also leave them a horde of paintings if I do not sell them before I die.
    Thank you for the essay . As usual Tc you make us think outside the box

    Tricia McCosker

  3. Judy

    My mother passed away in April, she was 93 years old. She wasn’t rich but she left me so many memories to remember her by. She left me over 50 years of journals. They are priceless to me. So now I have journaled for at least 20 years and I will leave my daughter my journals. I hope they will mean as much to my daughter as my mom’s have meant to me. And by the way TC, please know you will be GREATLY missed. Because you have helped so many people along the way with this technology age we live in. Many of us would be lost without you. And I love your stories and poems, so don’t plan on leaving us anytime soon, BECAUSE YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

  4. Char Craver

    Thanks, TC !!! I am preparing to move to another state, closer to a son. I have been collecting “stuff” that I wrote, or made, so my boys and grands will have those for memories.
    Your piece reminded me that I have 48 years of Christmas poems that tell our life story from the time their father died to this last year. You write and I am moved to do the same. Thank you!!!
    God Bless and stay safe. Char

  5. Rona Crosbie

    I can fully endorse your essay this week TC. I am 83 and have had many interesting and varied experiences during my lifetime. My children, grandchildren, great-grandies and other family members have all received a book from me which I wrote for them about my life. They loved it. I am now in the middle of writing another one for them about all my world-wide travels. Your essay has just confirmed for me that I am doing something worthwhile!! Many thanks and may God bless the work you are doing for us all. I couldn’t do this project without my computer!!
    From the South of New Zealand

  6. Vicki J Garrett

    Another thought provoking, well done, essay TC! I have often thought along the same lines and one thing I will leave behind is handwork such as embroidery items as well as some written thoughts scattered among various items plus several collections I delved into from the time I was a child to now. Now my thoughts tend to those items and wonder what my minimalist daughter would like as well as my son and his family. I’m sure the collections will be sold as neither of them most likely won’t want to keep them, not having the room for such magnitude! So with that thought in mind I am reminded many times to purge. Don’t hang on to many “things”! I also remind myself that it isn’t always things but what you instill in your children and grands. I see my daughter making her clothing and other projects that she picked up from me, my son with caring of others and the importance of relationships. That is only a couple of characteristics they have gleaned from myself, for which I am eternally grateful for, from their not perfect mother! Most of all they have faith and that is the greatest accomplishment I could have ever left behind for them and thank God He was in control of their lives, as well as mine. to lead them toward that point.

  7. Shirley Lincoln

    Thank you for this wonderful post. Thank you for reminding us that TODAY is a good day to start. I’m over 80 so I better get started today, at least get an idea of what I’d like to do. I love the book idea with photographs.


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