Legacy is a word that will be thrown around a lot over this next year as Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback in the history of the National Football League, mulls over retirement or coming back to play another season. Regardless of how I personally feel about Brady, there is no doubt that he is a phenomenal player and will leave a lasting legacy on all of football.
But legacy does not have to come from the greatest player of all time; legacy can come from our parents, our chapters, or even ourselves. A legacy can be very uplifting, a goal that is within reach because it has been done before. However, legacy can also mean an unconquerable pressure that presses down until we manage to reach our goal.
For me, legacy was always something that weighed me down in FFA. My father was an FFA advisor, and my chapter has had a lot of success throughout the years, so the pressure of living up to those standards was present the second that I stepped into Animal Science 1 my freshman year. I tried not to let it affect me, but I still felt that if I did not do well that I was letting everyone down around me. It took until my junior year to realize that I do not have to live up to the same legacy as those around me. It is my choice what sort of impact I want to leave, not anybody else’s. Once I made that connection, I was able to let go of the weight of the legacy that I was holding on to so tightly. I decided to try new contests and found a love for them over what I had been doing. Finding what made me love FFA for myself and not for others made all of the difference in how I went forward through senior year and while running for a state office. Legacy is what you leave behind, not what others put upon you.
If legacy is something that you struggle with, I encourage you to remember that finding what makes you happy and doing that will free you of that weight. Leaving a legacy for yourself is so much sweeter than doing something just because it is expected of you.