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Underbelly: 10 Things - Legacy

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#140 in a series of wild and precious observations on how you live your life.

This week I contemplated legacy. I heard comedian Jimmy Carr in an interview with Mike Birbiglia say “Your legacy is your work — and then what else you leave, is kinda, it sort of doesn’t matter.”
This Sunday at church, Pastor Rick talked about the idea of having a metaphorical trellis holding up your life. Your “way of life” as it were. One of the threads the trellis is built with is your work.
Later in that interview / conversation between Jimmy Carr and Mike Birbiglia, discussing the idea of wills, Jimmy says to Mike something like: “If you and your wife die, your daughter doesn’t need money. She needs love, and you can’t leave that love behind.”
Last week, a couple hours after I had hit send on this newsletter, I lived out the concept of “rewrite” and that idea that as a performer in my own life, I can’t revise.
I literally fell into a bit of a metaphorical puddle in front of one of my kids, sad that they wouldn’t come hiking with me. I yelled out to their closed door, “I’m sad. I’m really, really sad. I miss you. I miss you a lot and I want to be mature and just clean the house instead of hiking but I am having a really hard time with that because I am very sad.”
I managed to quieten myself, consider everything, and decided to go hiking by myself. I met lovely new friends, a teen daughter who had convinced her mom to go (!) and we had a really lovely day.
My dear one and I had a lovely conversation later where he, smiling, said, “You know, I never said I would for sure go hiking. I was tired.”
I heard that. I asked if he would go next Monday. He said he would like to. Then he said, “But I am not going to commit.”
I smiled and said “I hear you.”
Stay tuned.
“When you’re in a relationship with someone who’s selfish, what keeps you in it is the fact that when they shine on you, it’s this souped-up shine. And you feel like you’re in the club. And you don’t even know what club it is. You just know you want to stay in it.”
― Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories
“I was a big dreamer and never particularly good at anything–a real dilemma. I wasn’t terrible. I was just… okay. If you’re terrible, you can write everybody off, like, “I don’t know what the hell those idiots are doing?” I knew what those idiots were doing. And I knew that they did it better than me.”
― Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories
“What does it mean to be a decent neighbor? I think part of it is just listening to people in the context in which they intend their words.”
― Mike Birbiglia, The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad
I feel like people have more in common than the news reports. People getting along doesn’t sell very well in the news. I find that to be deeply depressing. I don’t even talk about it on stage, because it would take too long to explain. I’d have to spend an hour on it to get people to understand what I’m saying because it’s so instantly polarizing. Because cable news has kind of set up a construct where you’re for or against something immediately. So if I said something about it, people would be for or against me immediately. And I don’t want that.
Mike Birbiglia
“Until we find out who was born this time around, it seems irrelevant to seek earlier identities. I have heard many people speak of who they believe they were in previous incarnations, but they seem to have very little idea of who they are in this one… . Let’s take one life at a time. Perhaps the best way to do that is to live as though there were no afterlife or reincarnation. To live as though this moment was all that was allotted. (132)”
― Stephen Levine, A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last
3. Prompt
So…what is your legacy? Have you ever done that exercise popularized by Stephen Levine in his book: A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last?
He and his wife, Ondrea, lived for one full year as if it were his last. That experience shaped them.
There is an exercise where you consider your own eulogy. How will people remember you? What have you contributed that will be remembered?
4. Quest
There is a book called The Time Paradox by Phillip Zimbardo that I picked up in a sale bin at Auntie Em’s bookstore in Spokane, Washington quite a few years ago.
It made quite an impact on me. It seems that we ought to live solidly in the present, with a good understanding of our past, while also planning for the future.
So — living as though it were your last year…yes, and.
Live this week perhaps with a consciousness that each person you interact with may write your eulogy :) What might change?
5. Level up
Do we treat people differently based on how much power they have over us? What criteria do you use to decide what to say or not say to people around you?
6. Video
Carl Honore: In praise of slowness
Carl Honore: In praise of slowness
7. Article
The Simple Dutch Cure for Stress
8. Poem
9. Hero
In a world addicted to speed, slowness is a superpower.
10. Connect
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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