09/04/2014 02:33 pm ET Updated Nov 04, 2014

Leaving a Legacy

Mark Coffey via Getty Images

There is the well-known saying that, "All roads lead to Rome." This past spring I found myself in that exact location. My husband and I had embarked on a 12-day European tour and it was coming to an end. On our last full day in Rome we decided to tour the Vatican Museums. We walked the ancient Roman roads until we reached the Vatican City. Once inside the museum I found myself gazing at the mummy of an Egyptian woman. As I gazed at her in the glass enclosure I had one overwhelming thought, "I'm going to die."

It wasn't a morbid or even a frightening thought, but rather the realization that many generations had come before me and that many will come after me. I won't be here forever. Of course I've known this for a long time, but after staring at the Roman ruins on our trip, I started to think about what I will leave behind when I'm gone.

I'm pretty certain that part of my generation's legacy will be technology. We carry mini computers in our pockets. We tell our cars to make phone calls. We have made ourselves public figures on the Internet. Our technology can help us progress, but it can also harness us. A few weeks ago the social media networking site, Facebook, was not functioning. I knew of this because I saw it on a national television news program. Ten years ago, my college roommate and I would ask each other across the dorm room if our Facebook was working. Then the next day we would try to login again. Now it's a national news story.

While on my trip to Europe, my grandmother passed away. She was 94 years old and lived a long and happy life. Even though she didn't go to a higher learning institution, she was one of the wisest people I knew. Her years of experience gave her wisdom that isn't learned from a textbook. She never had an email address. I don't think she ever browsed the Internet. We tried to give her a cell phone once, but let's just say it didn't work out. Yet when she died, she left behind a life that affected and influenced many people. She started a sewing club, a book club and even founded the library for her community. That's a legacy.

I know that my tweets will fade, my Facebook statuses will diminish and my Instagram pictures may vanish. Every news story update won't be written into the history books. Right now I'm not sure what my legacy will be, but I want to start thinking about what it will be. I want to think about what I will leave behind. I want to determine the impact I can have on others. I want to figure out how I can help those who will come after me. I think that if I can fulfill those duties, then I too can leave a legacy.