What do you want to be remembered for?
Okay, that is a huge question. That seems to be basically the equivalent of “What do you want to do with your life?” or “What do you want your life to mean?”
Last year, there was a sign hanging in my hall (Rock 1st 1st for the win!) asking what we wanted to be famous for. I believe my answer was “single-handedly breaking down the gender binary.” I was kidding, of course (my friend once reminded me that I can’t actually do that all on my own), but there’s a bit of truth in that.
I suppose that what I want to be remembered for depends on the day. Of course I’d love to be remembered for founding an incredible organization like Dean Spade (the Sylvia Rivera Law Project) or Owen Daniel-McCarter (Transformative Justice Law Project), or for writing a hugely influential book like Kate Bornstein‘s Gender Outlaw. I’d love to be remembered for trans- and queer-related activism. . . . Incidentally, I absolutely would have adored being remembered for being on Broadway, but that’s never happening.
Ultimately, though, I just want to be remembered well. I want to have made a difference in the world, yes, but moreso, I want to have personally made a difference in the lives of my loved ones. Not that I like the idea of causing people grief, but I want to be missed. I want to know that because I existed, people’s lives were changed for the better. I want people to have been glad to have known me. In the face of that, any other sorts of accolades I might receive seem less important. In the end, I think that’s really what it comes down to: what gives our lives meaning — what gives my life meaning, anyway — is the hope of leaving people better off for having met me.