A woman who lived in my building, Mina, just died. She was six years older than me.
I was shocked and saddened.
Every time I saw her, she beamed a giant smile at me, as if seeing each other was the best thing that happened to her that day.
I don’t know about you, but I think about dying.
When I think about death it’s mostly these two things…
- Will I have given enough love, encouragement, and guidance to my kids?
- Will I be happy with what I’ve accomplished at the time of my death? Will I be able to lay my head on the pillow and say, “Yes, I did well. I gave more then I took. People’s lives were enriched my presence”?
In college, during freshman composition, our instructor had us write our obituary.
I didn’t understand the potential of the assignment, but Karen in my class did. She wrote an obit describing the most fantastic and outrageous life.
She had been the Madame of a brothel, the manager of rock stars, and a published poet.
We all talked about her obituary for weeks. Here I’m talking about it 30 years later!
After I die, I hope that people come together and say that I was kind and helpful as a career coach for women lawyers.
This Steve Jobs quote has shown up twice this past week, so I looked it up to share it with you…
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
No one wants to die. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
― Steve Jobs
Your Opportunity This Week
- Write your own obituary.
- You get to decide when and how you die, and more importantly how you live.
I wish I had known that Mina was sick. When I saw her on the sidewalk, I would have beamed a smile right back at her, and stopped to chat.