I couldn’t help but think of the frozen pizza commercials from a few years back when I just wrote that. And now I’m looking at the word Snicker and thinking about chocolate… Is it me, or are you getting hungry too?
So, I digress. And it isn’t because thinking or talking about death makes me uncomfortable. Not at all. After all, it’s not like we go through life not knowing the eventual end game. We just roll the dice and move our piece and hope we make it to the Finish box on the board on our own terms and with most of our soul and integrity intact.
I think quite often about my death–well, that didn’t come out quite right. I’m not obsessed with death and I don’t waste time trying to figure out the how and when. But I do think quite a lot about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind. What would I want people to remember about me? What would I want them to say? How would I want my children to remember me and what lessons do I hope I imparted to them?
I’ve only recently started using my tombstone as a gauge for my choice of profession. By this I mean: Am I proud enough of this that I’d want it on my grave marker? For instance, about five years ago I somehow ended up in direct sales. It was a lot of fun and I met some fantastic people, a lot of whom are still my friends. I made money, I earned free vacations, (I sold chocolate) and I was recognized as #4 and #3 in company-wide sales for two consecutive years.
I decided I was done with it because 1) the amount of money I earned wasn’t worth the effort; 2) it became less fun to me after a few years; and 3) it came to me that I’d never, ever, want the job listed on my tombstone. I wasn’t ashamed of it, but it wasn’t quite what I’d wanted to do with my life. Which, of course, led to the question: Well then, what did I want to do with my life? What DID I want on my tombstone? (Forget for now the fact that I plan to be cremated and scattered…that’s fodder for another day.)
I do think quite a lot about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind.
The answer came quite easily: I’ve always considered myself a writer. I wasn’t getting any younger. Freelance writing for other people, where I never get a byline, is a lot different than writing for myself. The time to stop thinking and talking about it was NOW. And so I quit the direct selling gig (it was a part-time thing to supplement the freelancing) and started writing.
Well, truthfully, I quit the direct selling and starting thinking about writing. And then researching. And then finally WRITING the damn thing during NaNoWriMo last November (never heard of NaNoWriMo? It’s worth looking up – gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finally write). I got 30,000 words in and then realized it was all wrong. The story is there, but the tone, the characters, their relationships–it was all wrong.
So I’ve spent the last six months reworking the book in my head and it’s better, stronger (am I the only one thinking about the Six Million Dollar Man now?) and more cohesive. IN MY HEAD. I’ve finally started to write pieces this last week. In the meantime, I’ve come up with three other fantastic book ideas since November and it’s hard to just focus on one at a time. It feels great. Writing this blog feels great. Calling myself a writer again, and meaning it, feels great.
As far as my legacy, I hope that my children see me as somebody who did the responsible thing but never gave up on their dreams. I hope they see me as somebody who always stayed true to themselves, no matter what the rest of the world did or said. There’s so much more I hope I’ve imparted, and will continue to impart, about honesty and generosity and letting go of material things. But for me and my tombstone–I think I’m finally proud of myself again, and happy with what it would say.
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