‘Write with great care,’ exhorted my university professor, ‘because everything you write lasts for eternity. Once your words are written down somewhere, they are immortal.’
I was twenty-one years old when I heard those words, spoken by my psychology tutor. He was, of course, referring to the clinical notes and reports written by professional psychologists. And he was right. Those words do last forever.
His words resounded in my ears at the time, and to be honest, they still echo in my ears today. I think his message bears weight outside of the psychology field too.
Think about it. The words we write, whether on paper, on computer, on the internet or social media, all have the capacity to last well beyond our lifetime. And it’s not just the physical words themselves. The physical words may pass away: paper can be destroyed and the internet might crash. (I don’t quite know how that might happen, but I’m guessing it’s possible.)
But even if our physical words are destroyed, they have the capacity to live on in the hearts and memories of others. Once our words have been spoken or heard or read, they can last for eternity.
Once our words have been heard or read, they last for eternity.
Which is why I think writing is such a powerful legacy to leave.
Many of us want to leave a legacy in this world. We want to create something, pass on something, be part of something that is going to outlive us. We want something of ourselves to carry on, long after we have breathed our last.
As a childless person, I feel this desire keenly. I had hoped to pass on those things I highly value to my children, things like storybooks and music and kindness toward others and faith in God. In the absence of children, it is important to me to find alternatives for leaving legacies.
In the absence of children, it’s important to find alternatives for leaving legacies.
Such as writing.
My blogs are legacies. The songs I write are legacies. The books I have published, and am yet to publish, all carry a vital part of me, the ‘essence of Steph’ if you will, that I want to live on in this world long after I am gone.
In my upcoming book, Surviving Childlessness, I have included thirteen stories of childlessness in addition to my own. It is not just my story, but the stories of other childless people, that I want to carry on in this world. And now they will.
So it begs the question: how are you leaving a legacy in this world? How are you contributing to something bigger than yourself, something eternal? If you have never considered writing, I urge to to contemplate it. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be as big or small as you want it to be.
How are you leaving a legacy?
And if you are thinking about writing—better yet, if you have put pen to paper—then good for you. You are already a writer. Keep writing. This world, and the people in it, need your words.
They need your legacy.
How are you using writing, or another creative outlet, to leave a legacy behind? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.