On Legacy

With optimistic hope for my lifespan, I would say that I had a sort of quarter-life crisis in the spring of 2015. And definitely the good kind.

For about a month, I’d been having health issues that made me wonder if I would ever feel strong again. I suddenly related very much to those who have to budget their “spoons” each day, and I began to more seriously consider which actions were worth my time… and my very limited energy.

I’m thankful to say that I fully recovered, but I hope that I never forget to be grateful for each day that I can get up, feel well, and do things.

While I was still very weak, I came across a story that changed my opinion of bucket lists. I’d always been wary of them – even though I love making lists – because I figured that with a finite list of all my life goals, one of two things would happen. Either:

  1. I’d make it to the end of my life with unfinished items, which would frustrate me, or
  2. I’d complete everything and have nothing left to aim for, unless I made new goals, which would land me back at number one.

But one day when I was stuck in bed and browsing articles on my phone, I read about a conversation that Warren Buffett had with someone who was working for him. Buffett said to write down your 25 most important goals in life, then pick the top 5 and make a plan to complete them. Then he said something surprising – forget the other 20! In fact, avoid them at all costs. Until the top 5 are done, everything else is merely a distraction.

The idea of making a two-part bucket list fascinated me. Limiting my “must do” list to 5 items would address my first concern, by making it more feasible to finish them. And adding a list of secondary items would address my other concern, because I could replenish that list as needed without feeling like I had to get through every single item.

So I eagerly started brainstorming the things that I’d love to do in my lifetime. Then I read through the list and tried to pick which five I care about most. But to my surprise, I realized that there is only one thing I would really deeply regret not doing.

If I could do nothing else, I would like to organize all of the ideas that I’ve gathered.

I tend to keep my space looking fairly tidy on the surface, but I have information all over the place. Over the years I’ve written down things that I believe are worth remembering, but they’re scattered among old notebooks, scraps of paper, and digital files.

Why do I want to organize it all? So that I can figure out what is worth sharing – and share it here. So that someone else can hopefully benefit from what I’ve learned, discovered, observed, and experienced. So that I can leave a legacy.

This was originally posted on April 18, 2015, and last edited on September 13, 2016.