My wife Susan Presby Kodish came up with a time-binding question that we use in personal coaching work and classes: What do you want your legacy to be?
You won't live forever. Usually we think of a legacy as an amount of money or property left for an inheritance. Here I mean something different, although it could include these kinds of things. Rather by legacy I mean something related to how you would like to be remembered after you're gone. This doesn't have to be by way of some great masterpiece you leave that everyone recognizes or a monument erected in your memory. Rather by legacy, I mean more precisely: what difference you would like your presence to have made on others, on the world (whether or not recognized). Don't think that because your name may be forgotten in a few hundred years—likely sooner—that your existence in the world now doesn't make a difference.
Professor J.T. Shotwell wrote about two kinds of immortality:
...the immortality of monuments,—of things to look at and recall; and the immortality of use,—of things which surrender their identity but continue to live, things forgotten but treasured, and incorporated in the vital forces of society. Thought can achieve both kinds. It embodies itself in forms—like epics, cathedrals and even engines—where endurance depends upon the nature of the stuff used, the perfection of the workmanship and the fortune of time. But it also embodies itself in use; that is, it can continue its work, enter into other thought and continue to emit its energy even when its original mold is broken up. (1)As a time-binder, you will leave a legacy, willy-nilly, whether you do it purposefully or not. What do you want yours to be?
(1). Qtd. in Ashley Montagu 1955, Immortality. New York: Grove Press, p. 66. From James T. Shotwell 1942, "Mechanism and Culture." In Science and Man, Ed. By R. N. Anshen. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co.