On Bucket Lists and Immortality and Legacies

Posted on May 21, 2012. Filed under: rickywoods | Tags: , , |

I’ve never given much thought to the idea of leaving a legacy.

I have been blessed to have two wonderful sons – now men – so, watching them emerge and realise their own dreams has always been enough for me. It’s not vicarious living, if that’s what the cynic is thinking. I have a very fulfilling job as a teacher and for the past thirty years it has been sufficient.

Then, last year it dawned on me that I had a decade left until I would be retiring. Something about that thought was the ‘spur to prick the sides of my intent’ (with apologies to the Bard) and I started looking at other options. I’ve always thought of retirement as a bit of a death sentence if one is not actively involved in all sorts of interesting pursuits – and if those pursuits can help to swell the coffers of a miserly education department pension, so much the better.

The obvious starting point was looking at the things I loved doing. For so many years I have been teaching others how to write and I figured it was time to do some of that for myself. I enrolled for an online writing course where I met a diverse range of people, each with something to say and looking for a market to say it in. It was en enormous learning curve for me: one personal website and a blog later, I was so excited by this new world that had opened up for me. What’s more, I had begun to earn some money from freelance writing. Nothing terribly difficult or creative, but once in a while I would see my name in print and it gave me such a kick!

Out of nowhere I was dealt a heavy blow – my father died – and my life as I had been living it was turned upside-down. I went into survival mode, having to deal with all the legal and other complications that such an event brings.

I stopped writing.

Then, a week ago I received an email telling me that I had one follower to my blog!  In that moment things changed. I went back to have a look at the scant writings that had been posted there. Five posts. Four comments.  Dutiful responses from loving friends. But this was different. Someone who was not obliged to do so had taken the trouble to read what I had to say.

It made me realise that there is still so much more that I want to do before I ‘shuffle off this mortal coil’ (oops, again!). The first of those is to pursue the writing that I had started on.  A weekly or at least fortnightly blog must be part of this discipline.  I have once again enrolled in a writing course – this time complete with assignments and commentary from tutors.

Who knows what the future will bring? More about that in a later post!

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