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Your Legacy: Looking Back While Still Facing the Future

Your Legacy: Looking Back While Still Facing the Future

By Richard Weijo

When we reach 50 or beyond, a very conventional view is that we will begin to reflect about our past and the fond memories of our life experiences.

We begin pulling out the boxes tucked away in our attics that contain the treasures of the past.

We might find some of the old clothes or the box of cherished records. We may even get together with some of our old friends to relive some of the best stories.

As we reflect, we assemble these experiences into an integrated life view to share with future generations.

These stories and dusty artifacts become part of our legacy, how we want to be remembered in the eyes of our grandchildren or the protegees we have guided.

Instead of looking only back in time, let’s put aside the colorful clothes and records and turn around to face the future.

As we look forward, we begin to see some of the challenges our future generations will face, and realize our acquired skills and talents can be used to improve the quality of life for future generations.

When we make this sharp turn, we realize our life is not only about the stack of old boxes stashed in the corner of the attic, or about placing the final quotation marks around our life.

Rather, it is about putting on our running gear, lacing up our running shoes and opening a door facing a new vista calling us to step forward – no run – to conquer the evolving challenges our children will face.

The challenge to our generation was aptly described in an old Greek proverb:

“A society grows great when [elders] plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

So, let’s take up this challenge. Turn around and together run towards the future.

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Richard O. Weijo, PhD, received an undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and went on to receive his MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota. He was an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Richard was also a Senior Analyst at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and his most recent corporate position was as a Manager of market research and Director of customer channels at Portland General Electric. Currently, he is a consultant and a writer. He adores his young granddaughter Elsie, whose birth inspired his book, Our Dreams For Our Children: Creating Legacies That Inspire Each New Generation To Achieve A Brighter Future.