Okay . . . did that get your attention? I hope so. That was my goal. Because I want you to focus on what really matters in life. And the way you want your epitaph (the words describing you, after your death) to read might help you do just that.
First, it’s worth noting what never seems to be included in an epitaph. It never seems to say how someone always prioritized work over all else or how someone managed to stay stafe from all controversy.
Epitaphs focus on powerful relationships, heartfelt beliefs, deep interests and treasured goals. That is what life, it turns out, seems to be made of. Because that is what ends up making the cut when it comes time to write the story of a person’s life.
What will yours include? What do you most want it to include? And why not do that inventory today and go about living your life in accordance with its last page, rather than assuming an infinite number of pages remain ahead?
Which relationships do you believe should be mentioned in your epitaph? Why not enrich those in some way over the coming weeks (and not wait longer)?
Which issues and positions really matter to you in the world? Why not take a step this week or next week to put some of your time and energy into advancing them?
Which of your interests make you feel most alive when you think of them or pursue them? Art? Literature? Economics? Why not let your mind luxuriate by focusing for at least a few hours a week on those interests?
What goal or goals really, truly speak to your heart of hearts? Why not take one step—just one step—in the direction of actualizing that goal (or one of those goals) during the next 72 hours?
Focusing on the end can be a beginning of committing to yourSELF. And, ultimately, becoming yourself, the person you were meant to be from all time, is what matters in this life.
Dr. Keith Ablow