I’m starting this post with some weird advice…
Pretend you’re dead. (trust me on this one)
Probably one of the weirder suggestions you’ve gotten on a Monday morning.
But I encourage this as an activity. Pretend you’ve died, and write your obituary.
Doing this quickly became one of the most transformative exercises I’d ever done.
I’d just read the book “The Crossroads of Should and Must.”
This book completely made me reexamine my life and my future plans–and particularly, how those plans have been influenced by the ideas I’ve gathered as to what I “should” be doing…instead of focusing on the things I “must” do–the things I love.
The book talks a lot about different exercises you can do to slowly embrace your Must, and finally brush aside your Should.
One of those recommended exercises was to write your obituary.
I know, morbid AF right?
Think about the obituaries you’ve read… what do they all have in common?
Obituaries tend to highlight the true shining moments in a persons life–the good they’ve done on some scale, the positive impact they’ve had on others, etc. Even for those with seriously sketchy things to report in their lives.
Why is that? I took a moment to think about what that means.
And I realized: obviously, it’s the good you do and the positive impact you make that matters in the end.
Not the riches you amassed, or your political power, or the things that for some reason gain leverage as “important” while we’re alive.
I can bet Steve Jobs’ obituary didn’t mention his net worth.
In the future, I seriously doubt Kim Kardashian’s will have a listing of all her like and follow counts on social media. Instead, I expect that her people will reach to include the actual important things, like the organizations she supported, her role as a mother, etc.
So I’m just sitting here wondering, why don’t we focus on those things while we’re living??
Why is it so obvious what actually matters when someone dies…but while we live we don’t apply that to ourselves and what to focus on while we’re here??
Do you honestly think upgrading to that sweet apartment will make it into your obituary?
Or getting that nice new car? That luxe vacation you can’t wait to post about?
Getting that new job that you don’t exactly love, but that offers a decent pay raise?
“And when she was 25, Sade was pleased to move on to a position where she made $100,000!”– said no obituary ever.
These are the things that seem important at the time. But once I got in the mindset of “would this matter to me on my deathbed?” …things started to come into perspective.
Coming to that realization made me so excited to write my obituary (that will never not sound weird, but hey LOL).
What would I hope to have achieved?
What would I want it to say?
And how do I live my life to make sure all those things come into fruition?
It was one step closer to me living my truth. And in writing it, I realized–working backwards–what really matters to me in life, and thus, what I should dedicate my life to focusing on.
The best part of the exercise was this:
Write two versions of your obituary on two pieces of paper. Consider how your life will progress along the path it’s on. And then consider what might be written if you heed your call.
I don’t know about you, but writing both made it plain to see that I could live a good life, or a great life.
And that the difference between the two was what steps I take today, tomorrow, and every day after that to build a life that’s extraordinary.
It was really inspiring!
I hope you’ll consider trying this exercise. Let me know how it goes!
– ♥ Sade