I got to hear this line recently while watching the Disney-Pixar movie Coco.
Without ruining the movie for you, this quote is basically about dead people who are alive in their afterlife conditional on people in the living world remembering them.
You and I both have seen movies emphasizing the importance of familial ties and love.
But this message from the movie does something else.
It evokes a sense of fear.
I replayed the sentence in my head over and over.
“When there is no one left in the living world who remembers you, you disappear from this world.”
Let this sink in and I promise you that it would stress you if not outright scare you.
The good news is that you are not alone in feeling that way. Human beings, in general, are obsessed with leaving a legacy behind. Something for people they left behind to remember them by.
Because people forgetting them when they are already gone would be… devastating?
Where might this sense of fear be coming from?
Could it be that we humans can’t stand the possibility that our lives mean nothing to
others around us? That we lived our lives in a way that no one is going to remember us – does this imply that we were a failure?
Could it be ego? Narcissism?
We creatively manufacture ways to convince ourselves that our actions will affect the future of the world in some remarkable way.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a legacy. But more often than not, the blind focus on the goal of doing something to be remembered by, takes our focus off the equally-important aspect of enjoying the journey to get there.
If we constantly are under stress working much longer than normal hours, doing things that we don’t enjoy doing and never getting time to spend with the kid that we think we are doing it all for – what do we think the kid is going to remember us for?
The journey is as important as the goal, if not more.
Enjoying the journey will always entail enjoying the present. Enjoying the present would include either or all of these things – spending time with our loved ones, doing something for the less fortunate, doing things that make us happy, enjoying what we do.
In the words of Arthur Ashe, success is a journey not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.
We are creating our legacy now.
What’s it going to be?