The obvious answer can be science or a proven theory like those that Einstein left behind, and some that were unproven theories of his and more philosophy. Often it’s music, a movie, a book or artwork that transcends time. So, creations or building things can outlive generations- and one could group these things into one’s own form of art.
But also- more than just art- these works that transcend time are a reflection of the energy that great thinkers before us were brave enough to pursue. As we know, Picasso was not a famous artist until after he left us. The musician Sting had a hard time getting started because his expression of music at the time was ahead of its time. Einstein, Picasso,or those people still with us all looked ahead at the big picture; but ultimately, they lived life through passions that led them. Those things that gave them energy often overtook their thoughts, inspiring them to create. They put their energy into something that moved them.
Now, we are not all Einstein or Picasso, nor are we figures of history for the world. More often, we are figures of history for those whose lives we share, namely our family and friends. The short answer to what transcends time is your energy that you hold and have shared with people (ie. how you treat others) and others. The things you choose to create or build in your everyday life through passion and action.
So, you can ask yourself, what primary energy do you give to people who surround you? Are you kind, are you positive or are you a “Debbie Downer”? Are you hopeful, do you share, do you look beyond yourself? Do you laugh with others or do you argue or insult? We need to remind ourselves that negativity often has more impact on others than anything else we leave. What are you leaving behind you? This is not meant to be a morbid question, it is meant to really say, think about how you act each day. If you want to go deeper, what is your legacy? Is it that you shared experiences of joy and love or is it that you were always talking about what ifs or criticizing. Just a reminder, criticism of those who surround you is a direct reflection of you are your own shortcomings. If we let go of criticism and focused on accepting what is, much negativity would go away. Of course, constructive, kind criticism is always a way to grow and expand, but aggressive, insulting criticism can easily become a legacy you will leave behind if you don’t pay attention. Instead, leave what is possible for every person- kindness, acceptance, hope and belief in others.
I wrote about my cousin Phyllis in my book, Solitary Genius because although she has been gone for over 10 years now, her energy still remains. And the energy that I hold with me are all the positive ones she shared. The belief she had in me. This is not to say she didn’t give me constructive criticism, because she most definitely did, but she did it in a kind way- either paired with a joke or in a genuine, peaceful, calm environment. She was someone who had a different path than most and she sparked wonder in me. I wondered how she created a life as a Casting Director. I wondered how she created a nice family with beautiful things in her life. She did this by working hard, holding some close friendships and maintaining the ones she had before her- For instance, she had an annual party with her friends from grade school. She believed in the importance of family and friends as family. At one point she said, I need to have more celebrations. She was saying, I need to create more memories with those people important in my life. So, what memories are you creating with the ones you care about in your life? How do you treat your family, your friends and the people you interact with every day? None of us will ever be Einstein and Picasso, that was their own personal legacy. Your legacy is entirely up to you.