This practice of living with your mortality in mind has been all the buzz lately. Writing your own obit and realizing your resume has little place in your legacy is a priority re-organizing experience, to say the least.
When a young person dies, the only way I can make any sense of it–justify it even just a little–is to see it as a reminder for all of us just how precious life is and how lucky we are each day to be awake and breathing.
Suddenly all those little complaints seem futile; all those moans and groans, unnecessary. Wouldn’t it be nice though to live like that all the time, without a natural catastrophe or tragic death to get us there?
Nobody makes it out alive, yet we all seem to act like we have all the time in the world. With our pettiness and preoccupations, you’d think we didn’t have all this evidence around us that life shouldn’t be taken for granted.
In some ways, I was lucky. Having lost my mom at five, mortality has been on my mind since kindegarten. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve wasted days and even whole semesters with the best of them, but there has always been an underlying current reminding me to pay more attention, to care more in some cases and, better yet, care less in others.
I am pleased that this conversation is spreading, and more and more people are getting comfortable talking about death. Steve Jobs, long before he had cancer, was said to have a practice of asking himself each day, “If today were my last …?” If he wasn’t pleased with his answer for two or three days in a row, he’d make some big changes quick, because he knew just how important it is to live like you are dying.
Brad Meltzer combined both of these TED talks to create the bulk of his speech yesterday at the Thrive event.
He claims his legacy are his new children’s books, ordinary people change the world: I Am Amelia Earhart, I Am Abraham Lincoln, I am Rosa Parks. I won’t be reading Meltzer’s thrillers, since that’s not my thing, but I will definitely be picking up his heroes’ collection for my nieces and nephews. They are just my speed;)
I leave you with this: Have you ever thought about writing your own obituary? Outlining it even? How might that change your decade, or year, this month, week, tomorrow?
#Onward and over