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A Portrait of a Lady’s Legacy

photo credit: Yana Paskova for The New York Times

Longtime class member Elsie Doherty sent me an article recently about Juliana Young Koo, a woman who at the age of one hundred and four, published her life story. Now, please don’t wait that long to get started, but be encouraged by the fact that she was able to accomplish such a feat after a century of life.

One of the most important elements of her life was the tradition of taking a family photo every year on her birthday. Each year, the number of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grew and surrounded Juliana, “typically at the center,” for the annual snapshot. I think about these photographs and the memories associated with them—each one, a tribute to Juliana’s life, her struggles and triumphs, but most importantly, her legacy.

As I read the article, I kept thinking about all the people I’ve worked with and how much I hope they don’t wait until they are more than one hundred years old to finally finish the stories I know they want to write. Everyone has a legacy to share. Your story matters to those you love and those who love you. Don’t delay one more day.

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did. In it, you’ll find helpful lists of how Juliana organized her story. The piece showcases what I think is a wonderful solution when you don’t know how or where to begin: look at photographs. I like to imagine Juliana’s children perusing through albums, recalling anecdotes from their matriarch’s life. Those are precious moments to be cherished. The time to appreciate those moments and do something with them is now.

Enjoy the article. Then, let me know what I can do to help you preserve your story today.

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