“There are certain things that are fundamental to human fulfillment. The essence of these needs is captured in the phrase ‘to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy’. The need to live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter, economical well-being, health. The need to love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love and to be loved. The need to learn is our mental need to develop and to grow. And the need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.” –Stephen R. Covey
Part of transforming your retirement into one of satisfaction can be this legacy work. You can start by creating a very simple tool, a Legacy Notebook.
Section 1 of your notebook can be writing down the kind of legacy you want to leave in each of the areas:
1) how you are remembered as a person – your personality, the way you treated others, what people saw in you and learned from you;
2) the work you did and the impact it had on others,
3) the family you left behind,
4) contributions of time, energy, creativity and finances that enriched others, and more.
There are a variety of ways to draw forth great thoughts, memories, etc. Some people suggest you write the obituary you would like to have written about you, or the eulogy you would like someone to deliver at your funeral or memorial service. If that appeals to you, do that.
Section 2 of your notebook can be journaling about the things in Section 1 not yet accomplished, but desired. These questions may be a guide in that process:
1. What might you do to bring this legacy into reality?
2. What will need to change for that to be possible?
3. How can you start moving in that direction?
4. Start writing your responses to these questions and let them be your guide to designing your coming months and years.
Section 3 of your notebook can be a place to list documents, recognitions, plaques, etc. that record or recognize specific parts of your legacy. For example, you may have received a plaque for “outstanding service to the citizens of your neighborhood” for a particular project. You might also collect any actual items into a “legacy box.”
Section 4 of your notebook can be a place to record your ideas of ways to communicate your legacy. You may write a book, compile a scrapbook, record an audio or video, or all of the above. As you continue to gather content and add to your legacy with new accomplishments, you may decide on additional ways.
Transforming your retirement from a foundation of clarity about your legacy – aspects that are already accomplished and those that you are still working on – can be an amazing experience.