I will die. It is a fact that I can’t overlook, regardless of how much work I put into denying it, putting it off or otherwise just trying to ignore it.
So, faced with the fact that I will not be escaping death, I have done the following:
– I have written my last blog post. This may or may not be published upon my death, but it is written and saved as a draft. It gets tweaked from time to time, but it is what I want to leave with.
– I have written my eulogy. I guess I really don’t care who delivers it, but the content is probably too important to trust to whatever hapless relative outlives me the longest. If I could choose though, I would have Tina Fey, James Lipton, Ellen Degeneres or James Earl Jones read my eulogy (all for different reasons.)
– I have written my obituary. It is really short and does NOT mention any of my present or past employers, though I am open for a mention if they kick in some advertising money while I am still alive. The obit is also written as a 140 character tweet and has a 160 character Google-friendly excerpt.
– My blog here and several others are backed up to a portable device with a Web browser so that my writing will be preserved. I have no idea if anyone will care or if it makes a difference a few hundred years from now but wouldn’t it just be a really cool joke to play on some future scientist who claims to have found evidence of a talking dog with independent thought and judgment? Yeah, that’s how I bark.
We spend a lot of time crafting our “personal brand” in life yet we pay little attention to our personal brand when we’re dead. Do you really want your life summed up in 160 characters by someone who didn’t know you — or worse, thought they did? Anyone who has ever submitted a creative work to an editor whose job it was to summarize it in a few sentences or been introduced as a keynote speaker should be screaming “NOOOOOOOO!!!” right about now.
It is easy to dismiss all of this as unimportant because if you’re dead, what do you care? You should care just a little because having spent a lifetime crafting yourself only to have your final history written by a stranger makes no sense.
Spend a few moments today seeing life as someone would after you are gone. All of this stuff I’ve done above actually took years, one small moment at a time. It is heady stuff contemplating your own death.
Even if you only get a glimpse of how you should steer your life just a little bit differently, it will be an exercise worth doing.