Someday, I will die. I hope to go peacefully as my grandpa did, lying on the couch in his sleep. I don’t want to be as young as him because he never really got to know any of his grandkids but still, peacefully in my sleep. At the end of my life, I hope someone stands at my funeral and reminds every one of the things I did in my life to be proud of. If I were to choose today, the following ten things are what I’d want to be remembered for (in no particular order):
- Being a father
To me, being a father is one of the most important things I can do in life. A good father can make a life for a child and a bad one can break it (though I guess the opposite is also true). I have a great father who taught me how to do things right. He taught me how to do things the way people don’t really teach their kids like they used to. For example, he taught me how to maintain my car by changing the oil myself and doing basic maintenance on it. He also taught me, by example, that sometimes the fight just isn’t worth your trouble. I’ve learned a lot from my dear old dad, and then some on my own. All these things I’ve learned I want to pass on to my own kids so they can pass them onto theirs. It’s keeping my legacy alive and furthermore, it’s keeping my father’s legacy alive long after we’ve both left this Earth.
- Being a husband
Right up there with being a father is being a husband. By example I’ll show my children the proper way to treat a woman. To respect her, to listen to her, and to talk to her. She’s just as important to me as I am to her. She’s a lady, and I’m her knight in shining armor through good times and bad. I want people to remember that I treated my wife well and stayed with her in good times and bad.
- Writing a novel
I want to be remembered for writing a novel. It doesn’t have to be a success. It doesn’t have to be good. However, I want to write one and I want to put it out there to be able to say, at least I tried. If the first one goes well, and I have the energy left in me to write another then I will. At the moment, this one doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that far off as I think I have about 95,000 words written towards my first novel and I’m only shooting for another 20,000. But I’ll need to edit and then try to get it published. Of course, if no one picks me up for publishing, then I’ll just self publish. In my book, that still counts and I’ll have achieved something I want to be remembered for.
- The people I helped
I really like helping people. I enjoyed helping and working and living with the people of Ukraine. This has been a highlight of my life so far but I don’t want it to be the only time I’ve helped people. I want to help build houses for those in need (I’ve signed up for the local Habitat for Humanity and I’m trying to figure out when they’ll start building–the build site is a block from my apartment). I also want to help kids. Lately I’ve toyed with the idea of foster kids. I want to get to a point in my life where I can help kids in need by providing them with a safe and loving home. I think they deserve this and if I’m able to give it, then I think it’s my duty.
- Being stoic
I want to be remembered for being a stoic person. I’ve tried to train myself to not say everything on my mind and to brood and ponder things before speaking about them, if at all. I want to deal with hard times because they must be dealt with and I’ll be able to do it without complaint. I greatly respect the Stoics in the world, and I wish to be remembered among them.
- Having visited all 50 States
Living in America is great, but I want to put it all in perspective by visiting all the States. I want to really know America and love America. As a child, we drove through different states on family vacations but I’ve decided that I’m not going to count these towards my totals. My count is fresh as of returning from the Peace Corps in November 2012. Thus far, I’ve visited Minnesota and Illinois, and my home base is now Wisconsin. I want to see them all and the great things the have to offer. At one point, I was putting together a list of reasons to visit each state and sometimes these included monuments (St. Louis Arch) or natural wonders (the Grand Canyon) or yearly events (the Arizona balloon festival). I want to see these places and take in these things.
- Riding my motorcycle to the end
If people remembered that I died an old grizzled biker, I’d be a happy man. I love the freedom that the bike gives me. I love that I can lower my foot and touch the pavement while riding. I love that every time I tell someone who I ride a motorcycle, they warn me not to by telling about someone they know who got into a terrible accident. My bike is a part of me and it defines me because I let it. That’s something that I hope never gets taken away from me.
- Being well-read
You can live a thousand lives if you read. I want to live a thousand and one. Reading has always been something I’ve been passionate about. There have been times when I have trouble finding the time to fit it in, but it always makes its way back to me. The stories stick with me for years and shape the way I live and the way I think about lives. These are things I’d never want to give up. To me, a great retirement would be to spend my days outside while reading through all the books I hadn’t gotten to yet. I don’t need to quote them or retell them to people as though they’re the greatest thing ever, no, I just want to read them for myself.
- Having a well-kept car
My father taught me the importance of a well-kept car without ever saying much more than, “Don’t touch the windows!” When I say well-kept, I don’t necessarily mean the things in the engine bay though those are good to keep in order too. No, what I mean is how the car looks on first glance. Is there clutter? There better not be. Is there a layer of dust from the nearby construction? Clean it off. Are there smudges on the window? Never let the person who did that in your car again. A car’s appearance reflects on a person. I want my car to show me. I want to be remembered as the guy who gets up early on a Sunday morning to wash and wax the car on the outside and to vacuum and Windex and Armorall the inside.
- My Love of Marley
Even years after Marley leaves me, I want people to know how much I love this cat and how important she has been in shaping my life. I never considered her my baby or child in any way because I never knew her as a kitten. She can take care of herself. I prefer to think of her as my partner in crime. She’s there when I need her to be and I’m there when she needs me. We’re the best of friends and I want everyone to know that I don’t think any other person has had the bond I have with her. She’ll be the love I keep in a special corner of my heart for all time. When she finally does leave me, I’ll cry for a week and mourn for years.
These are the ten things I want to be remembered for. What are some of yours?