Ever since my senior high school government teacher made us read the newspaper everyday, I have been hooked on reading obituaries (Thank you Mr. Phillips). I began by reading the San Francisco Chronicles' obituaries almost 20 years ago, graduated to the LA Times when I moved to LA to attend UCLA in the early 90s and today I read the obituaries from the LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post and online. I have an entire file at home for obituaries of saved articles that are memorable to me. 98% of these people I never knew. I save them for different reasons, famous, infamous and just the "regular" citizen. I am fascinated by who writes them, what they say, if there is a picture included, if the deceased person's quotes are included, if others' quotes are included, positioning of the article on the page, if it's a paragraph or three pages long, basically, who gets what, but most importantly, I am interested in the legacy they have left. Legacy often refers to money or property left behind. I am not referring to that kind of inheritance. Leaving a legacy for me is about what differences he/she made in the world to leave it a better place.
Call me crazy but obituaries inspire me while reminding me how precious life is. They make me grateful for everyday I am here to give. They represent a celebration of life to me. I enjoy reading about how the person is remembered. How would you like to be remembered?
A great exercise (some may say is a bit off) that I like to do is writing my obituary every couple of years. Its keeps me on track in giving of my time, love and also allows me to spend some time thinking about what legacy I am leaving. All of us can and need to make a difference in this world. I live to give. Leaving your legacy includes volunteering. We all have time to volunteer and if you never have, I recommend getting involved on any level possible. It can be 30 minutes of your time once a year or 30 minutes of every day. We all have the power to make a difference and leave a legacy. I am not a great inventor, artist, photographer, musician, actor, scientist, or politician but I am someone that can make a difference, leave a legacy and so can you. Read the obituaries page of the Sunday paper and be inspired like I am.