Why Your 20s Aren’t Too Early to Begin Building a Legacy

legacy 20s

We all admire someone. Usually, they are the people who have accomplished what you dream to. They are the compassionate and fearless do-gooders. People who, against impossible odds, accomplished great things and left their world a better place.

I have many heroes: Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Oliver, Mother Teresa, and JK Rowling, to name a few. These are women who have inspired me in what I do, how I do it, and in whom I continue to become. Yet, more than those who have intangibly impacted my life are those who have loved me, guided me, and made a forever impact face-to-face. These are women whose lives intertwined with mine, but walked a few steps ahead, carrying a little more life under their belts and wisdom in their hearts. Over time, these women each left a legacy on my young life for a reason, a season and, for some, a lifetime.

I will never forget being thirteen. Really though, who can? It is an equally tumultuous and exciting time, as girls slowly become women, and discovering who you are feels like reading a mystery novel. My body and mind were in constant transition, and connecting with others was no longer like finding a friend in kindergarten, but more like finding the right hair product for curly hair. (That analogy works for me, as I have only recently made peace with my own.)

… more than those who have intangibly impacted my life are those who have loved me, guided me, and made a forever impact face-to-face.

I was in middle school, consistently bullied, reaching for joy and confidence I could not quite find. My mom and I were newly at odds (thank goodness adolescence is but a season, because we are close friends now), and I desperately needed someone to talk to. A guide, my own personal Oprah, someone!

During this year, a newly married 20-something entered my life. Her name was Sarah. Sarah was the epitome of cool and confident, and for some odd reason, she was interested in me. She would pick me up from school, let me hang-out at her apartment for hours, and helped me process through a lot of my worries and insecurities. She showed me how to curl my eyelashes and how to see my own beauty. She prayed with me and cried with me. She dug deep, and showed me real kindness. Sarah’s life consisted of so many other relationships and accomplishments, but part of her legacy was the mark she made on my life. She made me better. That season of sisterhood and mentorship marked me in a permanent way, and positioned me to think about my own legacy.

legacy 20s

Image via Grace Beck

A lasting legacy is a relational one. It is one of love. You may run for President or run a successful business, but I believe that real, lasting impact happens in human hearts. I may accomplish much with my hands, but if I don’t extend love to those in my life, then my legacy will have holes. You are never too young to start your own legacy. Like a tree that bears fruit over time, you may not see the full harvest of what your life has planted, but people will be deeply impacted nonetheless.

Who is the young girl in your life who doesn’t know she is beautiful, smart, and valuable? Come alongside her, and tell her who she is. Who is that relative who cannot seem to make a healthy decision for herself? Share your story, and walk with her towards restoration. If we wait to be perfect or qualified to extend a helping hand, then we never will. It is time to think about the reasons people have been placed in our lives, and to start taking our legacy seriously.

If we wait to be perfect or qualified to extend a helping hand, then we never will.

A beautiful legacy is built on consistency, integrity, honesty, and availability. Are we using our Instagram captions to create common ground and love those who follow us? Are our schedules open to one coffee date or lunch time a week for someone else? Who in your life needs to be seen? I am forever grateful that Sarah saw me. That vulnerability and convenience (two things people are rarely willing to give up), never hindered her investment into my life. Throughout the years, many more have come along to cheer me on, and walk with me. I have made it my legacy to continue their work of hands-extended and heart-ready living.

Whether it is your little sister, or a friend walking through pain you have known, it is important that the lessons you have learned are passed on. Leaving a legacy is not about personal gain, but as we give our lives away for others, an unexplainable fulfillment springs forth. Saint John said, “In the twilight of life, we will not be judged based on our earthly possessions or human successes, but rather on how much we loved.” May we open our eyes to those who need us, and open our lives to invite them in.

Who has (already) left a legacy in your life?

Feature Image via Grace Beck

Victoria is a pastor, blogger, and freelance writer who lives in the Bay Area with her husband Reed. She is passionate about womanhood, creativity, spirituality, and learning how to savor life. You can find more about her and read her work over on her website Victoria, Truthfully.

  • Natalie Ann Redman May 29, 2017

    Great post! Love this.

  • Oratile December 31, 2016

    Thank you for this!I have been thinking of reaching out to people around me ,engaging with them and just seeing the need in my society and the one thing that has been holding me back is what monetary gain will that give me.My mother is the most selfless person I know and I just never understood why she does all she does.Her response is always that this is what the Lord would like for her to do.So this came in time for me to make the right mindset change for 2017.

  • Oratile December 31, 2016

    I am so grateful to have stumbled upon this article.Reaching out to others, engaging with them and seeing the need that people around me are in has been on my mind for sometime and this article reached me just in time for a new year.

  • Marjana Simic December 7, 2016

    Beautiful story! I like the connection between purpose of life and leaving a legacy by helping others. I guess anyone who enters our lives impacts us one way or another. In my case, it would be my parents who moved continents and worked hard jobs just to give my sisters and myself a better opportunity.

  • Victoria Sowell November 1, 2016

    I’m so glad you liked it Kristine! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Chloe October 31, 2016

    Gosh, I can’t begin to describe how deeply this resonates with me right now as a struggle to keep both feet in the ground, but time and time again, I am reminded of the strength we carry simply by showing up for ourselves, and others.

    My mom (and immediate family), for she (they) has helped me see myself as more than my illness, enabling be to get after the life I’ve always dreamed of. As well as this community, which of course includes the incredible people behind the Darling vision.

  • Hannah Lacy October 31, 2016

    so much truth and so timely for me right now!! thank you!! sometimes we think to change another life we have to do something big, but the way we change another life is giving of our own life, in small ways, like you said our convenience and vulnerability.
    so beautifully written.


    • Victoria Sowell November 1, 2016

      Thanks Hannah! I know that in stepping out, others will be impacted and you as well! xo

  • Anonymous October 31, 2016

    Thanks for this article!

  • Amy Cummins October 30, 2016

    Wow, so much wisdom in this perspective and such a good reminder, too. Thank you for sharing this, Victoria!

  • kristine October 30, 2016

    Thank you Victoria! It is such a wonderful, uplifiting article.