Have you ever heard the advice to write your own obituary? I think about that. I have always thought about that. I don’t like funerals, I don’t like impromptu eulogies, I don’t like poorly written obituaries. The sum of your life is what someone can remember about you in their saddest moment. As I write this I realize that is how most people feel and think about their lives as they live. You could, like a job interview, ask them about their life, about their experiences and they would give you a brief description. Most people don’t think to do the work of reflection on who they are, who they want to be, and who they want to be remembered. All of us will come to an end. When we do the echo of our lives will depend on how big of a sound we made in the lives of others. That echo is what we see at most funerals.
There are two types of personal obituaries you could write. One of the facts: you worked here, there, and over there for years. You had a family, preceded by and survived by, you were loved. Maybe throw in some hobbies and a small personal quark. Or, you could write an obituary of fiction and try to make it come true. The second easily gets confused with a bucket list of things you have like to have done. You see, you could live a small life full of deep relationships and have a few mourners who will greave you every day. Or you could live a gregarious life and those around you would move on in an instant as if a tv character died, it is irrelevant to their actual lives. You could travel the world and try to live an enviable life. You could dream about being a community pillar and someone everyone counted on and loved. You could become a famous actor, singer, dancer, artist and your work would outlive you. The real purpose of writing a personal obituary is to determine what kind of echo you will have. What is the sound you will sing or shout into the universe?
To be clear, I do not want you to live for others approval, I want you to live so that your life is a reflection of you. Our individual lives make up the mosaic that is humanity and the world we live in. To each of us our place in history and moment in time to experience this life. No one can live for us or through us, the journey is ours and the choices we make are ours. Taking the time to think about our death is taking the time to think about how we will live knowing that it could happen at any moment. In this your life is a piece of art, please do not let it collect dust, please do not put it in the throw away pile. Please explain it to us, touch us with your journey, take us on an adventure with you- show us the beauty in a flower, the grandeur of a mountain side, the delight in a life giving steam, tells about the chasm of danger you dare not cross, or the mountain you had to climb. Your life is in your hands. Take a breath and live.