Apologies from the diversion from business and managed services, I’m going to talk on something personal, feel free to tune out if you’re not interested!
So – as part of getting older (although not too old yet despite the lack of hair!) things happen which make you consider both your life and your legacy.
For me, I have a pending operation coming up on the 15th of February, nothing serious, a routine operation performed millions of times before me and will be performed millions of times after me, but it does involve being in an operating theatre under anaesthetic for 4-5 hours as well as some pre and post care. In reading about this operation and the risks of course the big one that jumps out is RISK OF DEATH!!!!! or at least that’s how my hypochondriac mind reads it.
I guess I’ve always kind of thought that I wouldn’t be around on Earth for long, it’s something I’ve thought often about since I was a little kid – morbid, I know, but real nonetheless. So when stuff like this happens, I always tend to think the worst – what if I never come out? what will happen to me? How will others around me take it? Stuff like that.
It takes a lot to explore those thoughts, mostly because people just don’t want to think them – lots of us go by in life thinking we’re invincible, particularly when you’re younger, and it takes something like this, or something happening to someone you know or love to realise that life is precious and is very, very fleeting.
I was fortunate enough to hear Arlin Sorensen (http://www.htgpeergroups.com/blog.html) talk about life, legacy and being responsible for both when he was in Australia for a Connectwise user group. Some of the points he raised were uncomfortable for most – I could tell looking around the room and all too familiar for everyone in the room. He spoke of someone that he knew that owned a MSP business that passed away and had literally left no information, or instructions on where things were, where the money was, who was owed, how the business worked, etc – I think it was such an unexpected death and such a surprise there was no information left over that whilst his widow was grieving there was a business to run that required input that no-one had – what a terrible situation to be placed in with the departure of a loved one.
After that talk, I ran right out and got life insurance, income protection insurance, got all my documentation together on where money and owned property is and wrote a will – Arlin should probably get a cut from my financial advisor for the speed with which I acquired the above! From Arlin’s talk I took it as a matter of being a responsible family member, friend, manager and person and this sharp focus on what constitutes being responsible if you were to pass away led me to take those steps quickly! If I was to pass away and my family had to deal with those issues as well as grieving me it would be terribly irresponsible of me and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case.
The second part is a bit more existential and a little more concerning to me than matters of money and deals with your personal legacy, what will people think of me when I’m gone? What have I left on this earth that I can be proud of? I think it’s every person’s wish to leave the world a better place than you entered it, but really what tangibly says that you have?
Anyone that knows me outside of this blog, knows I’m not a believer in any sort of fate, destiny or religious deity – I’m a man of science and a live and let live guy, so if you’re a believer that’s your business and I’m good with that, but I do appreciate people not trying to make me a believer if you know what I mean? So I’m not tied to the idea of ‘living on’ in one form or another or being able to ‘look down’ on my achievements and loved ones and conversely I’m unable to take some solace in a belief.
In any case, what have I done that will really make the world a better place when I’m gone, or leave an indelible positive mark on the world? If I’m honest, not a lot that would have any great sort of lasting effect. That is indeed troubling for me when I consider that I’ve had ample opportunity to do so by the age of 30 and I don’t know how long this ride will last – even if I do get to 60 will I be looking back at 60 thinking the same sort of thing and trying to make that mark before I’m 90? Time rushes by even quicker than most of us think..
I’ve thought a lot about what I could do to make the world a better place, or have something that lives on and I’m honestly fresh out of ideas of things of consequence, sure I give money to a number of charities, I volunteer as and where I can and I’d like to think I’m a decent guy but is that enough? I have a feeling it isn’t. I’m going to keep searching for something that I can define as my ‘offering’ to the world and try my best to make sure I get it done before the sands of time slip away – unfortunately I’m not likely to get it done before Friday the 15th so here’s hoping all goes well and I get a chance to build a personal legacy I can be proud of!!