I think about my own death quite a bit, not in a morbid kind of way, but as it pertains to my legacy. I want to have the attributes of my grandparents, and some others who have been close to me. All of the ways that I wish to be remembered are very attainable (I said attainable, not easy). Fame or fortune are not important to me, but the way in which I see people live their lives, especially as they get older, is what allures me.
Amanda and I spent our evening watching some old footage of her granddad being interviewed by a local news station. It was an hour-and-a-half segment about his time in WWII. I could not help but be captivated by her granddad’s humility, his laughter, his tears, but most importantly, his sense of duty. The late Frank Kimsey served as an electrician in the Navy on an ammunition and artillery supply ship. He was not solely responsible for winning the war, and he did not boast any medals of honor. I tell you what he did do, though. He spoke with a level of respect about the people around him. He talked about his duties as if they meant the difference in victory or defeat. He humbly spoke of himself and praised those around him. He respected the ladder that most all of us has to climb if we want to build a life for ourselves. He was compassionate as well as caring, and was not afraid to show emotion for the experiences he had endured. Alongside his lack of boastfulness, was also a lack of griping about the reality of life.
Now, I do not know Frank Kimsey, or have any first hand experience as to how he led his life. However, I have witnessed many people who carry themselves in the same manner as he, and I want to emulate these qualities the best way that I can. I have a lot to learn, and many things I need to change about myself, but I can see that the changes I need to make to leave a respectable legacy are do-able, and I can start whenever I like.
Doing the “right” thing, because it’s the “right” thing, does not come naturally to me. I short-cut, I work around, I leave my mess for others to clean, and I cheat when I think that I won’t get caught. I have been this way for most of my life, and I have just recently begun taking steps to being a less-selfish individual.
Recently, I watched a documentary on boxing and it highlighted the poverty and difficulties which most professional boxers are faced with from an early age. Evander Holyfield said that he was raised in the ghetto, and they did not know how to get out. He said that the people in his neighborhood threw their trash in the street and kept trash among them. He said that his family was raised to clean up their trash and throw it away. He pointed out that while he did not know what to do to get out of his situation, he knew what people did to stay in it…so he did not do these things. Here I was, watching a man who was once the heavyweight champion of the world, and of all the things that he accomplished in his journey, the most profound thing to me was that he was willing to do pick up his own trash, when the only benefit was the consciousness that he had done the “right thing”. Now, I realize that comparing a naval electrician from Whitwell, TN. to the heavyweight champion of the world might sound like a bit of a stretch, but I don’t see it as such. The people I admire, I do not admire for the results of their actions, I admire because they were willing to do the action.
I recently read a meme which stated:
“I have never met a successful person who left their shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot.”
I don’t know how much truth there is in the above statement, as I have not done any studies or taken any surveys. I do, however, feel that there is a degree of truth in there, and the point is not lost with me. I want to be deliberate with my actions, as well as my words. I want to pick up my trash, return what is found, do the best job I can at whatever I am doing, speak up when I need to, and respect those around me, because that is what I want my legacy to look like. I guess you could say that my heroes are heavyweight champions, naval electricians, welders, and furniture salesmen. It’s all the same to me. The Evander Holyfield’s, Frank Kimsey’s, Luther Anderson’s, and Bill Horrell’s are placed on the same pedestal in my head and heart….cause they did their jobs with dignity, respected those around them, and they picked up their trash, cause it was the right thing to do.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,