A page will turn on the calendar tomorrow and the number in my age will turn one year more.
For as long as I can remember, my birthday has been my time to celebrate.
And I’m not shy about it.
I love birthdays.
A birthday reminds us all to celebrate our own lives. To acknowledge the gifts we’ve received, and the gifts we bring to the world.
Long ago, I took a course where one of the exercises was to write an eulogy for yourself.
I struggled with it.
What did I want people to say about me at my funeral?
As I’ve become my older self, the closeness of an eulogy becomes more clear. So does its purpose.
When in that course, I recall focussing on the things I’d done in the world. My accomplishments. My deeds. As I was taking the course in my early 40s and I expected to live well into my 80s, there were lots of things I thought I’d have done by the time I died.
Some of the things I’d imagined I never even began. Like getting a Ph.D. Hasn’t happened. Yet.
Like being a NYT’s best-selling author. Hasn’t happened. Yet.
Writing my eulogy today is much easier. Whether or not I’ve done all those things yet, it’s up to me to decide how important they are to me. And choose my next steps accordingly. Whatever I choose to do, it’s not about ‘the what’. It’s about who and how I am in the world today.
It’s about how I treat people. How I make them feel. Who I am in good and not so good times.
I want people to remember me as Caring. Passionate. Compassionate. Creative. Kind. I want them to feel a warm fissure of joy when they think of me. To feel like they mattered to me. That I celebrated their human magnificence, their beauty, their heart.
“As we mature, we must engage with what our own mortality means for us, knowing that we one day enter what I call the Great Unknowing. The season of winter helps us to practice for this.”
.— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD
In this deep winter chill that has settled on our city, I step with loving heart and open mind into the limitless awe of the Great Unknowing. In our intricate dance of life and death, I expose my fears and tears, my joys and laughter. In that liminal space where light shines endless into the deepness of the mystery of the dark, I become the woman I have always been. In that space, my eulogy is not a monument to my life, it is a living reflection of the woman I am today when I live my life in the fires of creativity, fearlessly expressing the best of me so that instead of fearing the worst of me being exposed, I rest in peace every day, knowing that whatever happens next, I have nothing to fear.
There are all sorts of resources on google to help you write your own eulogy — no matter your age. In fact, writing your eulogy in every decade is a powerful exercise. It can serve as a wake-up call, a reminder of time passing, a poke to ‘get at ‘er’. It’s not about beating yourself up — it’s about reflecting on how you want to live your life, what you want to fill your precious time with, and how you celebrate the best of you, everyday.
Some of the questions asked to ignite thinking around your eulogy are,
“How do you want people to remember you?” Not ‘what for’. ‘How.’
“How do you want people to feel about you when they are celebrating your life after the ceremony?”
An interesting article I found through Google with the search term “writing your own eulogy” is here.