Make the choice to focus on how you’ll be remembered, in a world where most things are beyond your control.

Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels

Joe was my brother-in-law for 30 years.

He died yesterday after a lengthy complicated lung issue, he was 76 years old. The issue was not COVID-19 related but from years of smoking.

He left behind a whole family of people who loved him.

His death made me reflect on how all of our lives take shape. There were so many factors beyond his control, and yet he managed to be remembered as a kind, generous, and thoughtful person. He purchased a coat for himself and really loved that coat. This inspired him to buy one for everyone he cared about, so they too could share in his joy. Now, when he’s gone, I’ll remember him every time I wear that coat.

We Don’t Get Any Choices in Our Starting Circumstances

We arrive on this planet out of nothing and into the skin we are born with. And we’re given no choice in the matter.

No choice who our parents would be.

No choice where we are going to be born, as in what part of the world.

No choice how long we might stay on this planet. No choice in the color of your skin, eyes, hair, or any aspect of what our suit would look like.

No choice in the language we would speak.

No choice in what we would like or dislike.

No memory for the first few years.

Everything anyone achieves they do so by learning from others that arrived before us, some on the fly, some trial, and a lot of error. We arrived without a manual.

We Don’t Have Any Control Over The Time We’re Given on the Planet We Live On

We all have the same clock ticking off seconds, then minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Everyone has this same set of rules.

We have no control over time as it ticks on into the future, but only control how you spend it.

We have no direct control over the earth’s rotation process, the sky above, or weather.

Life is more than an experiment, it’s also an adventure.

Because our journey starts completely unwritten, we get to form and write the story of our life as it develops.

There are no do-overs or rewinds. We all get a lifetime to make the most of what we were born with.

There are far too many unanswered questions regarding where we existed before and where we will be after for me to subscribe to any theology. Instead, I simply expect to be my best and to be kind daily. Like Abraham Lincoln said, ““When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”

Life leaves us with so many questions unanswered.

There are more things that we don’t know than what we know.

How is it, it takes two people to create a human being and where did the first two come from?

With the universe so large, why are we not able to go that far out and discover others?

Why has no one discovered our world? Have they, and simply left because of what they saw or how we portrayed them in our culture?

Starman: You are a strange species. Not like any other. And you’d be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? …You are at your very best when things are worst.” Starman the movie

What happens in the middle of our arrival and our exit is the between.

Our time to exit is unknown.

We spend the first nine months in the dark, and some leave in the dark. Some leave unexpectedly sooner than others. Most of us leave with no prior knowledge of the timing.

We know not where we will go on our exit.

We will leave this world without all that stuff that was accumulated and on loan for the duration of our visit here on earth.

As we grow old, we often end up caring for those who originally cared for us, when we first arrived.

Over time you will learn from others and teach others by your thoughts and behaviors.

Leaving a legacy

What do you leave behind, was it a positive or negative effect on the world and people?

Others will typically write your eulogy. What words will yours contain?

When my eulogy is written, I hope they say I was forgiving, that I listened, that I was patient, polite, and truthful. It’s how I’ve tried to live my life, and all I can hope is that’s how I’m remembered in my death.

What does your list look like, and how many would you put on your list?

As a writer, it is my hope I will encourage other writers to share their stories and thoughts through writings that will be left behind for family members and others as a reminder of our stay on this planet we call earth.

“A hundred years from now? All new people.” — Anne Lamott

As a writer, we have a better chance of being remembered by writing out our thoughts and leaving them behind.

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