Leaving a Legacy

Sunday was the first day that I cried over the death of someone I didn’t know. And by didn’t know, I mean really didn’t know–I don’t follow basketball, I don’t know any stats, and I don’t know the ins and outs of his success story. In short, I didn’t know much beyond his name.

What I did know, however, was that a giant hole was ripped into multiple people’s lives, and the thought of losing the people I love in such a tragic and dramatic fashion twisted my heart.

After hearing about his death, I googled him to try to get a sense of who he was and why the world cared. Throughout reading through the copious internet pages, the things that stood out to me the most were an incredible work ethic, hefty goals, and love for his family.

The reactions to his death from everyone, celebrity and common man alike, spoke volumes about the impact that he had on others’ lives. I saw people comment on his perpetual smile, his zest for fatherhood, and the spark he lit in his competitors. This was a man who truly LIVED.

And yes, in my research I did see the mistakes that he made, and the people he may have hurt in his journey here on earth as a human male. However, the overwhelming majority of his life gushed positivity and vitality on a level that few humans ever get to reach. And those mistakes, while devastating on many levels, are also a beautiful lesson on humanity and the capability of change.

The whole thing got me thinking about what people will say about me after I die. While I am a far cry from the level of Kobe Bryant, I shouldn’t view that as an excuse to put anything less than my all into the one life that I am given.

This past year of my life has been, for lack of a fancier term, very weird for me. I’ve unearthed some of my ugliest flaws, experienced short yet horrible bouts of depression for the first time in my life, and faltered in my love of my career path.

Yet, for some reason, the life and tragic death of this basketball star who previously had no impact on my life really spoke to me. It made me realize that I cannot be indulging every wayward emotion and insecurity that skitters across my brain. I cannot allow myself to waste so. much. time on ridiculous bullsh*t that seems all-consuming in the moment, yet so ridiculous in hindsight.

I can’t imagine that I am the only one who has been effected in this way after hearing the news. This, in a way, is the greatest legacy of all: to be able to spread positivity and bring people together in life and in death.

After all, the material goals and money and trappings of fame will all vanish at the gravesite. But energy lives on, and the force you put into the universe will keep traveling long after the source has flickered out.

This, then, is what I want to be my legacy: I want to influence people in a positive way in every interaction that I have with them. I want to inspire others to follow their dreams. I want to shine with love from inside my soul with such ferocity that others can’t help but to shine a little more themselves.

A legacy cannot be created with a single action or the accomplishment of one single goal. It is a daily commitment to excellence that compounds and builds until the world can’t help but take notice.

So my #kobechallenge to myself is to show up. Every single day. Every day we live is 24 hours that we have to spend whether we want to or not–there is no banking minutes in the checking account of life. Let’s all make sure those minutes are purchasing something of value.

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