Yesterday, I very briefly touched on my own legacy. What will I leave behind … not financially but personally? After reading What Will You Leave Behind – Have you Thought About It?, I have decided today that I will answer her questions to help me reevaluate my own life. I want to make changes in the here and now.
Have I learned from past mistakes and changed my life accordingly?
That is a BIG yes for me. I have had many mistakes that I have learned from. But, the most profound was this … Starting in childhood and well into my adult years, I have had a bad temper. If I was tired, I got grumpy. If I was overwhelmed, I got grumpy. If I was hungry, I got grumpy. Well, you see the pattern. After the honeymoon period wore off with my marriage, these episodes became a problem for us. He knew how to push my buttons and I would react. This was a bad cycle for us. During a brief separation I did a lot of praying, studying my Bible and took alone time to think about where I wanted my life to head. My conclusion … I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be married to my husband. But, I also knew something had to change. I knew that I could not control his behavior, but I could control mine. I often describe my episodes as if I was on the outside looking down at me having these temper tantrums, but I could not control them. I knew I could not do it alone. So, I prayed. And, it worked. My husband and I have the relationship that we should have had all along. I am not perfect. He is not perfect. We still have our moments. But, they are rare and brief. This separation saved our marriage. God saved our marriage. It would have been easy to give up and just get divorced. But, I knew that we were worth it. Learning to control my temper in my marriage has helped me to also learn to control my temper in other situations. Win! Win!
Do I need to make amends to anyone?
I am sure that I need to make amends to a number of people. As a matter of fact, I tried to search out one particular person not too long ago. I did not have any luck. I went to nursing school with a girl. We were pretty close. She came to live with us for a while … which was the first big mistake. I don’t share space easily and I found out that I am a very jealous person. But, that is a whole different story. Her mother was going to take over payments with our new car because we were having some financial difficulties … me not working, pregnant and in nursing school. It came to the point where she wasn’t always paying the car payment to us on time. And we could no longer float her the money until she paid us. In one of those moments as I talked about from the 1st question, I flipped & made my husband call her for her to give us the car back. A lot of heated words were exchanged. I did not handle it appropriately. It cost our friendship in the end.
Have I made a positive impact on my children and grandchildren?
I know that I have made positive impact on my children. I have 3 boys. They are all good kids. While I can sit here and tell you all of the good that I feel that I have done, my mind wants to focus on what I should have done differently. I have taken them to church, but never as regularly as I should have. My youngest has a lot of my emotional roadblocks. He is just like me in almost every way that I can think of except for the temper. He is the sweetest, most caring, thoughtful person I know. When my older two boys were young, I was different. I had a bunch of friends. We hung out all the time and we were always on the go doing a lot of different things with our children. When we moved away from those friends, our lives changed. My older two boys were at the independent stage by then and continued doing all of those things with their new friends. But, my youngest was 4. He was my buddy. We did quiet activities at home … read, played games, etc. After I was able to learn to control my temper & understand how I was in control of me, I realized that if I did not help him to learn to control what he can control, he would never be able to push through some of the issues that he has. But, I feel responsible because I feel that they were learned behaviors … from me. If I had realized at a younger age the impact that I was having on him, I would have definitely worked to be a better, more positive impact on his life. I would have encouraged his getting out there & seeing the world … not hiding in the safety, quiet & comfort of home.
What is unique about me that will be remembered in a positive light?
Wow! This is tough for me. I had a doctor tell me once that no matter how chaotic the unit was, that I was always calm & in control. Which, at work, I always was (even if home was a different story). When a Mom would be getting ready to deliver and the doctor was going to miss it, I would feel this calm force come over me. I remember a friend of mine would always be the opposite … she would get louder & you could hear and feel the anxiety in her voice. Me? Instead of getting anxious & louder with the Mom, I would be in control and talk normal, guiding her through the process. My daughter in law tells me that I am awesome because I watch my grandson for her one day a week while she works. But, I feel selfish because it is only one day. I feel I should want to do more. But, I love my free time. My husband’s customers will remember the homemade gifts that I make them very year … even if most of them don’t even know who I am. I had a former boss tell me that I did not have a good poker face … she said she could read me feeling, my answer, the truth all over my face.
Do I want to be remembered for a life that was lived to its fullest extent or one that simply happened?
I want to live to the fullest. But, I am just now trying to figure out what that means to me. Comparing the religious view of that and the Earthly view of that.
What are my morals, values and beliefs? Would I want others to follow in my footsteps?
I am a very follow the rules by the book kind of person. I never experimented with drugs. I rarely had an alcoholic beverage. I have never smoked – not even a puff. I try to always tell the truth. I have never stolen … unless you count the good pens our bank has. As a matter of fact, my last week of work, I found 2 – $1 bills in the hallway and I turned it in. I could have just pocketed it. But, it may have been someone’s last $2. And, it wasn’t mine. I do my best to display good moral character. But, I am flawed none the less. I can think of so many things that I could do better on. Thank goodness God loves me not because of who I am but despite of who I am.
Was I a good friend? How will my friends remember me?
I think this answer depends on the friend that you may ask. When I was younger, there was so much drama. My relationships changed with my friends on a daily basis. As a young adult, it was a lot of the same. But, my friends now I believe would think I was a good friend. I try to help them when I can, however I can. I try to be a shoulder for them when needed. But, it is different. Outside of work, our interests are different. I would prefer my free time alone instead of trying to conform. I just don’t want to get too close. That’s my problem, not theirs.
Did I live a respectable life that others would use as an example to follow?
For the most part, yes. I have one specific time, one specific event that I would like to erase. I am not feeling that open to reveal it at this point. It was nothing illegal. But, it was something so morally out of character for me. That is probably my biggest regret.
Is it time to revise certain parts of my life to create the legacy I hope to leave?
Yes! I want to improve my willingness to help in all situations and with every person that I come across. I want to do this with simple ways such as increasing my random acts of kindness. In much more in depth ways such as I would love to become a volunteer. And in much harder ways for me … acting to help even when I am embarrassed, not ready to, etc.