Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tip #22: Leave something behind

Every week I start thinking about this blog around Tuesday. This week was no exception. I thought "Mm, the sun is coming out, I should write about Vitamin D." Then, Wednesday came, I read (or saw or heard) something else and I thought "Mm, maybe Vitamin D can wait one more week." But, then, this morning I read yet something else, totally different, and while I was still toying with the idea of maybe talking about Vitamin D, maybe talking about something else, I scratched it all and thought: "Forget it, I have to write about this."

"This" is this short blog post by Seth Godin, "What are you leaving behind?"  He says:
All day long you're emailing or tweeting or liking or meeting... and every once in a while, something tangible is produced. But is there a mark of your passage? Fifty years later, we might hear a demo tape or an outtake of something a musician scratched together while making an album. Often, though, there's no trace.
But we actually live in a time when leaving things behind is very easy. I have some pictures from my father (who died when I was 13), some of his notebooks, but not much more. I remember we taped his voice once, but I unfortunately recorded over it by accident some time later, losing it forever. Now, we can make movies with our phones. Amazing.

And there are so many examples of great projects that are already "left behind." A young friend of mine, Leyla Dam, wrote a book with her mother's recipes and self-published it through She created it as a Christmas gift for her mother, but it is so much more.

Pages from Leyla Dam's cookbook
Even my students' projects are great examples, in my view. This year they had to write personal blogs in Spanish, and what they wrote was so much more exciting than I thought possible. Here are three posts that particularly moved me (in Spanish, but you can use to read them in English):
I really liked that their blogs can now be used as a portfolio of their Spanish knowledge. They include some recordings and video-clips, as well. They can be shown to prospective employers or their grandchildren.

There are so many other examples of things you can leave behind. I have a friend who writes about gluten-free diets, or others that just have great personal blogs, where you may learn something or not, maybe you just love reading about them. It doesn't have to be a blog or a book. I have a friend who has written journals for each of her three kids, since their birth. What an amazing gift those kids will have.

So, I thought, "what am I leaving behind?" I am happy to say that I believe that I'm leaving this blog as a trail of what it is that I am. It does not matter that it is not perfect, it doesn't have to be. I know that it is already helping people in ways I could not have imagined and it is helping me be happier. The excitement of my Tuesday idea, which changes by Thursday and then the choosing of the picture, the last minute altering of it, the research I have to do, the links to include, all adds up to great joy. This is not my profession. This is my passion. And if I don't write any more tips, if I don't get to talk about Vitamin D, you already have a glimpse of me. I have already accomplished something. And I do think it is a great way to be happier.

Sometimes we think we do not have anything new or different to offer. But it's not a matter of being different or new. It just has to be something that it is YOU. What you have to share is much more important than you realize. We all have something to offer.

What are you leaving behind?

PS: We are doing an experiment in our house and plan to be with no electronics on Sundays, so I have moved the day I write the blog to Saturdays. Wish us good luck.


  1. You are a wise and wonderful soul. I wish we lived close by each other. You are a kindred spirit to me. xoxo-Nancy

    1. Thank you Nancy, I do wish too we lived closer. We have so much in common!!

  2. Happy Memorial Day Pilar! Hey... Memorial - remembering - leaving something behind.

    I am weathering a little slumpy feeling this weekend, and I knew I could turn to you for inspiration. Leyla's book is beautiful, and your students' blogs are so wonderful. Wow! Thanks again, and have a nice Memory Day :)
    (I stumbled upon The Tuskegee Airmen on TV Saturday night, which made a really ideal Memorial Weekend movie.)

  3. Me ha gustado mucho tus reflexiones de esta seman! Estuve comentandola con Kika y pudimos sacar much as cps's buenas.