From: Les-Be-Friends on Nov 29 15, 03:59
Who will remember my name?
Will I have children, who allow my memory to echo forward a few generations before disappearing into time? Will I leave a mark, any mark, besides a brick in the courtyard of my old high school that bears my name? Besides a few unimportant and unremarkable pieces of work from my failed academic career? The half dozen yearbooks where I scarcely appear? Stacks of letters and photos shared among family and friends? A handful of journals that (I almost hope) no one will ever read? An entire catalog of inane Facebook posts?
I am hardly invisible. This is the information age, and I leave many footprints. But I am a historian. Was a historian. I know that of the billions of people who have lived and died on this earth, almost all did so in relative anonymity. Their faces and gestures and words and deeds were forgotten long ago, erased by time's steady march over their graves. Crumbled artifacts, scraps of paper, the occasional moment of greatness (or terrible-ness)...these are all that keep a precious few of us from joining the ranks of the nameless horde of humanity.
In the end, does it matter? What if no one does remember my name when I am dead, disintegrated, vanished from the earth? I often tell myself that what I want most is to live well, to love and be loved, and that's really all. And if that is, in fact, all I want, then I will die happy. So what does it matter, if the only voices that ever speak my name belong to those who now know me? What does it matter if after they are gone, I am also gone?
Still...I can't help but wonder about leaving a legacy. There is something vain in that, I know, but it's there in my mind all the same. "You have just this one life. With any luck, you will one day be old. For certain, you will one day die. What will you leave behind?"
Perhaps nothing of great importance. Perhaps nothing that will last.
Must I live with that? Can I?
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