I love the show Dead Like Me (find it on Netflix) that is about a band of Grim Reapers who meet every day at a Waffle House to acquire their reaping assignments. Then they go out into the world and yank the life out of their consignment. In between the soul snatching and the spiraling to the light, they have a conversation with the newly deceased. This shepherding to the afterlife reveals much about the newly dead and people in general.
Almost all have a “to do before I die” task and it never is what you’d expect. I have had that list – thanks to Morgan Freemen and Jack Nicolson is now called a Bucket List- in my jewelry box that I update every few years.
I started the collection in 1990, when I was sure I was going to be stuck at home raising kids eternally. I made the list, put it in my jewelry box and forgot about it. It was full of things I deemed unreachable at the time. Every time I updated it, I picked new activities that would enrich my life and seemed esoteric.
The first time I found the list, I was shocked to find how much of the collection I had accomplished. Things that had seemed impossible slinked up and transpired.
It was my first taste of the Secret.
I decided then to try something new every year, something outside my comfort zone and these little “tasks or adventures” have enriched my life immensely. They have included learning to sail, fostering children, owning a bar, swimming with dolphins, writing a movie, meeting Jimmy Buffet and riding in an open cockpit bi-plane into the sunset.
This year’s task was to meet and formulate new friends, not just meet new people, but to actually work on turning strangers into friends. This is not a simple undertaking at 50+ years old and not at all as easy as when you where 6-years-old. I am meeting people outside my sphere of influence and working on making them permanent colleagues. It is a chore, but an exciting one that has permanently enriched my life.
Stepping outside ones comfort zone is usually the most frightening thing adults do as most stop being risk takers after college. That is a survival extinct and it serves the human race well, but it does not serve a human’s soul well. Trying new things, even as simple as writing, will open up even the most withered soul to experience joy that is unrequited.
When you sit down to write and those voices in your head are telling you not too- think of the elation you acquired when someone read your words and replied in kind.
My advice: Just Do It.
Throw off the word bowlines and just jump into the sea of prose.
Do It Before Your Story is Over.
Write your own obituary.
“The secret of fascinating obits,” says journalist and writing coach Don Fry, “is pushing the resumé into the background.” List the facts of your life, but concentrate on anecdotes and recollections. Fry recommends “a few rich paragraphs in the third person, answering this question: ‘What do I want people to remember about me?’”
Here is my twist. It must include past, present and future all written as if it transpired. Make it a tribute to yourself by showing the kind of adoration you would for a passed Grandmother.
It must be positive and kind.
I want is full of the possibilities that are hidden in the secret parts of your psyche.
Make it formidable and strong, no passive sentences.
At least 500 words- more if you dare.
I would love to see them if you want to share.