Live Your Eulogy

My sweet great-aunt Betty died a few weeks ago. She was a loving woman living a life on borrowed time, a light in this world for nearly nine decades. Thanks to technology, I was able to attend her funeral virtually. And as I listened to the beautiful eulogy my cousin delivered, I was struck by how perfectly he captured her life and just how richly she embodied the things that were important to her.

And it made me think of my own eulogy.

As morbid as it might sound, I’ve given some serious thought over the years to what I hope people will say about me when I’m gone, and I urge you to do the same.

Will they say pleasantries? Will they be too occupied crying? Will they tell funny stories and reminisce about how you made them feel? What will the theme of your eulogy be? Who will be able to surmise it best? Who knows who you truly are? And, what would you want people to think or say things differently? 

Writing your eulogy helps you get a clear vision of the kind of person you want to be and the kind of mark you want to leave on this world. In a sense, it becomes your road map through life, your personal guide for how to live your good life.

It’s helpful too, because it’s not too late to make positive changes. You can start living your good life today, and people around you will notice your energy and candor. Give some thought to what you’d want your eulogy to say, and start living your life accordingly. 

In the weeks since my aunt’s passing, through a number of small and not-so-small moments, I realized that if I were to die today, I’m not sure that my eulogy would fit. As much as I think about and talk about living your values and intentionally cultivating a good life, my actions of late have fallen short.

That’s a tough pill to swallow.

I think the toll of disrupted routines, social distancing limitations, and the constant loom of impending crisis have made life feel less vibrant for many of us. I don’t know about you, but it hasn’t been a recipe for always showing up the way I want to.

I am fortunate, though, that it’s not too late to course correct. I am humbled and reminded that psychological strength, which helps me live my eulogy, is not a one-time, check-it-off-the-list achievement kind of thing. 

It requires ongoing intentional practice. I don’t have to wait for anything external to change, though. I simply have to make the choice to do the work.

If you, too, have gotten away from living your eulogy – or even if you haven’t quite figured out what your life is all about yet – it’s not too late for you, either. Let’s commit, today, to embody the qualities that matter most to us. 

P.S. If you want to build your psychological strength, our Ascend program is here for you, and we’ll be doing the work right alongside you.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
-Abraham Lincoln