Write Your Own Obituary

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Imagine the end of your life, 10 or 50 years from now. Write your own obituary. Put it in a sealed envelope. Open it every seven years and edit it. Write what you want to be remembered for. Write about what you have done so far. Write about what you will do. Write about what your life means.

Sound morbid? Maybe. But it puts your life in perspective. I've done it. At 21 I wrote, "Kevin was a famous writer and political activist." At 50 I wrote, "Kevin was an unknown poet but a world class Daddy." Set your dreams in motion.

When you write out what you want for your history, you will make that history happen. For the most part. I am a writer, maybe not famous, but known to a few NPR listeners who wake at 6:07 am. I still have a shot at World Class Daddy, and I live each day to fulfill that elegy.

At most, you will be remembered for one or two things: "the best storyteller" or "best sergeant I ever worked for." Me, I don't want my obituary to be accidental. I don't want them to write, "Kevin wrote the Manual for the Property System" when I didn't really give a damn about the Property System. But I do want that title of World Class Daddy. And if I haven't earned it in my first 50 years, I better do it in the next 50.

What am I doing to deserve my epitaph? Each morning I wake up and I make each and every moment the most important moment that these boys have with this Daddy. Sometimes that means dragging out the waffle maker when I would really rather pour two bowls of cereal. Sometimes that means volunteering to assistant coach when I know nothing at all about soccer and I have no idea who won the World Cup. Sometimes that means sitting down at the kitchen table and talking about why the boys cannot do cartwheels in church, and what the consequence of that action would be.


If you write about your last day, you'll write your own destiny. Choose something bold. Choose something worthwhile.

With a Perspective, this is Kevin Fisher-Paulson.