Your Legacy: What will they say about you?

In 200 years we’ll all be gone… what’s in YOUR legacy?

©2008-2015 Beth Terry,

What will our descendants think of our choices?

Right near the now-closed Greasewood Flats northeast of Phoenix is a place called Reata Pass. I took the photo above sometime in the early 2000’s, before the rich and famous co-opted it and turned it all into “Troon North.” In the early days of the southwest, it was the place to stop if you were a rider for the Pony Express. The Old West couldn’t have survived or thrived without these cowboys delivering the news from far off lands.

Much has been written about the romance of those Old West days. Today across the country the Cowboy Mounted Shooters and the Single Action Shooting teams gather to re-enact what was an everyday occurrence for the cowboys of old. The best place to catch this is in Arizona at Winter Range in February.

It’s fun to reminisce about “the old days.” But in doing so, think about this: what seems quaint and old-timey to us, was just an every day occurrence for them. Ask your teenager what they think about the 70’s or 80’s — to THEM your old photos and nostalgia about Betamax, 8-track tapes, Pong and stories of one phone in the house are quaint and old-timey. You were just living your life, much the way you are living it now. While we are in it, it doesn’t seem ‘historical’ or ‘quaint’ or ‘old-timey.’  With some hindsight, we review some of our choices, and more than a few Baby Boomers now mutter to themselves, “What the hell was I thinkin’?”

While we are living our life, it doesn’t seem ‘historical’ or ‘quaint’ or ‘old-timey.’

In 100 or so years, when there are no survivors left from today, what will historians piece together about our choices and our legacy? Will they wonder why we gave up our privacy so easily? Will they wonder why preserving our eco-systems wasn’t a primary concern for all of us? Will they marvel at our obsession with taking selfies? Will they thank us for the amazing innovations and the plethora of blogs on every topic from cooking to politics to relationships? Or will all our words crumble like so much dust inside King Tut’s Tomb?

Think about it. In less than 100 years, we’ve gone from a few lone traveling photographers making people stand still for minutes at a time, capturing stiff people on a daguerrotype … to everyone from age 5 to 95 taking pictures of themselves with a cell phone! Will that fad last? Will we finally get tired of photographing ourselves? Is that our legacy?

If not, what IS your legacy? What are you leaving behind? Will your life choices make sense in the lens of the year 2115? Does it matter what you are doing now? Is the world a better place because you were in it? What one thing can you leave your descendants to help them make sense of your life and theirs?

Food for thought on this beautiful Saturday in Phoenix.

Just because the world is crazy doesn’t mean YOU have to be!


Beth Terry

© 2015 Beth Terry • All Rights Reserved


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