If you really think about it this is a very important question because it touches on immortality - how do we live on when our physical being departs this world? This may seem a bit morbid but really got me thinking about my current direction and ultimately my purpose in life. A legacy can take on many different forms - for a musician, it is their music; for an artist it is their art; for a physicist it is a discovery that revolutionizes laser eye surgery (I'm talking about the latest Nobel Prize winner, Donna Strickland from Canada - amazing!!); for an architect it could be the newest city structure. Others may argue that it is the inheritance that we leave behind that creates our legacy like our children.
An interesting fact is that around this time last year, I was extremely close to quitting music all together. I felt hopeless, inadequate, disappointed in myself and didn't know why and what the point of all this was. Then I realized later that it was because I lacked direction. I didn't pause, sit down, ask myself and think about what was important to me. This year, I am extremely grateful to have gone through that moment because now I have so much passion and hunger to create something that will contribute to society and make an impact.
So what defines legacy? How do you determine what your legacy is? I have no idea. But I think it may have a very close connection with asking yourself these next few questions:
1) What is/are important to you?
2) What are your values and morals?
3) What story do you want to write and have people tell?
4) How did your story impact others today and tomorrow?
To me a legacy goes far beyond the tangible - it is pieces of ourselves that we leave behind in others. This could be in the form of a family tradition, teachings and upbringings that shape our values and beliefs, but most importantly in my opinion, the connections that we make with others that will outlive anything physical. As a singer-songwriter it may be obvious that the music that I create will be my legacy but it is much greater than just the music itself. If you think about it, musicians (or any artist for that matter) write music to express emotions, to share stories, and to spread messages - to build connections with their listeners. On my newly launched Natalia Chai YouTube Channel, making and building connections is what I always push for because how else do we build a sense of understanding, community and comradery?
I am a night owl and an early riser. I had this conversation with a friend of mine the other day when I told them that I used to be able to sleep in till noon (and I loved it!) but the older I get, I feel anxious when I don't get up by 830am even after staying up till 2am practicing. I literally run on average 4 to 5 hours of sleep but I wake up feeling excited to attack the day. This is because I've found at my very core a passion that allows me to do things that matter on a DAILY basis not just for me but more importantly for others! There is a "fear" for lack of a better word, in me to do what everyone else is doing. I've experienced what other people expected of me (which was not much to be honest) and I felt stagnant and actually at times felt like I was moving backwards! That is terrifying.
Music provides me with experiences that ignites indescribable passion. It has brought into my life exceptional individuals who I admire and learn from. Situations where I am challenged and encouraged to make mistakes. Music has given me "white space" to let me take my creativity on a completely different tangent than I had initially imagined. All in all, music has given me the opportunity to inspire and make mini positive subtle differences for generations to come.
I think about where I've been, where I'm at, where I'm going and always looking and creating opportunities to get to where I want to be - and to be honest I'm only just scratching the surface and have so much work to do. But I'm ready. My legacy is not really about me - it's really about you and me for today and tomorrow (cheesy I know and does this even make sense?) In my past blog "Where is YOUR Destination?" I alluded to the fact that your destination and goals will always be changing and that is how it should be! Because life is so unpredictable you have to allow yourself to be flexible but at the end of the day what shouldn't change are your values, beliefs and morals.
Legacy is a reflection of one's character (hopefully more of the good!). It is not about acquisition but rather one of creation. It reflects on our actions, intentions, a summation of our values and morals of what we do TODAY that will live on in the next generation TOMORROW.
WHAT IS YOUR LEGACY?