At a women’s meditation retreat a decade ago, the question of “legacy” was posed. In answer to, “What do you want your legacy to be?,” a trend emerged around the circle: the women who had children nearly all said their children were their legacy. Done and done.
At the time, I felt that was such a cop-out. That’s not a legacy! Where’s the “you” in it? Where’s the manifestation of the gifts and talents that only you can bring to the world? That’s about your kids, not about you!
Clearly, I had/have some issues with judgment;P
But, as I consider kids myself, I’m brought up short on what I want my answer to the legacy question to be.
As I pondered yesterday the idea of not having children, suddenly it made the idea of death seem all the more looming and permanent. That’s it. Out, out, brief candle. Poof.
So, what do you do with the time that you have?
For the first time, I began to see things the way J had before we’d met, before he’d considered having kids: a life of far-flung adventure, outdoorsiness, travel. A life — as it was looking to me then — of filling the hours.
To me, as I imagined it yesterday, it looked like a manic, pell-mell careening through my years. A “must do before death” muttering below my breath. A panicked, gobbling up, blind and blindered race against the clock. It didn’t look balanced at all. It didn’t seem intentional at all. It looked like it may often look: a willful dervish to drown out the immediacy of death.
Because kids or no kids, I’m gonna die. (SPOILER!)
I’m in the habit of pouring my days through the hourglass unmet, unnoticed, unintentional. Kids or no kids, that’s no way to live life!
I know that sending my progeny into the future is in itself a legacy. But I also see that I need an answer to the question of the worth and effect and meaning of my life, whether or not they’re there.
What do I want the sum of my days to mean? In what activities, and to what end, do I want my hours to be spent?
Being intentional with these answers will offer me solace, ground, and purpose, regardless of my uterus’ status.