“If I died tomorrow, would this song live on forever?” - The Ataris

It’s no secret that I’m living in the past, though my ass is more firmly planted in the ’80s than anywhere else. What can I say? I’m a fan of ridiculous hair and makeup. Still, I have a special place in my heart for all the punk/pop of the early 2000s, including one of my favorites - The Ataris. In one of their songs, they ask what would happen if they died. Would they live on through their songs, their accomplishments? Or would they just…die?

I thought it was a morbidly appropriate question given the whole rapture thing that’s circulating right now. For the record, I don’t believe in such nonsense. I’m not a super religious person, at least not in the traditional sense, but I know enough about the Bible to know that Christians believe Jesus will return at a time when no one expects. If tomorrow was his date of choice, everyone expects it now, so he probably cancelled his plans. And is pissed.

Good job, Internet, you’ve pissed off Jesus.

Anyway, back to the song. I think it’s pretty relevant whether you believe in crazy doomsday tales or not. We could all die at any moment. Look at Macho Man. One minute you’re here, planning your next ridiculous spandex outfit and the next minute you’re having a heart attack while driving. Boom. Gone. So, apocalyptic timing or not, it’s a value question - if you died tomorrow, would your song live on forever?

Of course, it means so much more than music. When you’re gone, will you leave a legacy? Will you have passed on all of life’s important lessons to your kids? Will you have created something that changes the way people think? Will you have reached out and touched people so that not only do they never forget you, but they talk about you to their children and their children’s children, effectively making you immortal?

If not…why not?

You don’t have to invent some kind of awesome teleportation device that changes the world (though if you’re looking for a suggestion, that’s what I recommend because I’m really sick of traffic lately) or be some kind of vagina-flashing reality show celebrity or make a million dollars and give it all away. You just have to do something great for you. Is it enough to go to a crappy office job every day, hate your life, and sulk at home in the evenings because you’re broke and miserable in your marriage? I say no. I say that not only do you have a right to be happy, today, but you have a right to be remembered. You have a right for your song to live on forever.

But you have to claim that right. You have to work for it. No one’s going to just hand it to you. If you die tomorrow, will your song live on forever? Make the answer yes.

As a challenge to everyone reading this, I’d like to propose that you leave a comment: Tell me what you’re going to do, today, to start leaving your legacy? Are you going to start working on a industry-changing blog post? Are you going to finally write that book? Are you going to quit your job and find something more fulfilling? Are you going to talk to your kids? Right now, what are you going to do?

And then please…go do it.

Image credit.

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