If not art, what legacy will you create?

I’m not a hopeless romantic, nor a true Potterhead. I’m not a musicophile. I couldn’t even name more than one Bowie album. And to some this post may seem many days late, but it’s only over the weekend that I heard the news of Alan Rickman’s and David Bowie’s deaths. The world of art has suffered quite a public loss this last week.

But the art world also suffered an unknown loss. The reason I wasn’t aware of these deaths in a timely manner is personal. My own grandmother passed just before these men, and I dropped everything in a whirlwind to fly back east for her funeral. Instead of spending my days glued to the computer or phone, I spent it in the company of family.

We revisited old family photos, some I’d never seen. We sat around my uncle’s dining room table, telling stories. And because my grandparents are abundantly practical, we started talking about the art we’ll one day inherit.

I first learned of this “family tradition” about 20 years ago. I was sitting in my grandparent’s house and saw my grandma write a name on a post it and then attach that to the back of a piece of art. They didn’t want anyone fighting over their stuff when they’re gone, you see. So we just call it. My name is on the back of a beautiful silver and gold painting that hangs above the entry in their house today.

The running joke in the family is my grandparents stopped traveling because they hadn’t anymore wall space to hang the art they brought home. That art is a legacy my grandmother leaves, and the world has lost another patron of the arts.

The world mourns the loss of Alan Rickman and David Bowie. Next year when I pull out Love Actually the day after Thanksgiving, it will have an extra shine to it with a new layer of emotion. Next time Under Pressure pops up on my Spotify list, I’ll have an extra smile of gratitude.

All three of these people were known for something, some little, some big. It bears the question, what legacy will you leave behind? Today, what do they say about you when you walk out of the room? Multiply that, exaggerate that, and you’ll find the answer. When I pass one day, I want to be known for the number of people I’ve helped find their passion, their calling, and making money while at it. I’ll be remembered as the spark that set off my clients’ brilliant careers, that turning point. I can only hope I leave the same smiles behind that my grandmother has.

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