In the past month or so, I’ve attended two funerals, both in the main, to support my partner. I knew one of the deceased but I only met her once. I didn’t know the other person, but I know her daughter, a friend of my partner. But I really wish I had known them both much better. From the tributes and eulogies read out at both services, they sounded like truly inspirational women with an immense zest for life and incredible dedication to humanity and service. So that got me thinking.
I think it’s quite natural for most people to reflect on their own life at a time of mourning. When you start to hear condensed versions of what people have achieved in their life, I know I start to think about what people might say about me at my funeral. I don’t mean to verbose or anything like that, but I put it ‘out there’ much more in the spirit of celebration, which was the sense I got of the two people whose funerals I attended.
In a former post I introduced the concept of the ribbon of life. Imagine you have a metre length piece of ribbon in your favourite colour. Now cut it at the point you think is roughly in proportion with the age you are now compared with the average age of a human these days (80) – so for example, if like me, you’re in your early forties, cut it about half way, 60, 3/4s and so on.
Now set aside the part which represents your life so far. Don’t throw it away (it’s a celebration of what you’ve achieved so far). Now, for the other portion, cut it in half again. This represents the portion of your life you spend sleeping, eating, showering – doing all the basics. Now throw that part away and consider what’s left. So again, for someone my age, you’ll be left with a piece which is about a quarter of the original. That final piece represents the rest of your life. What are you going to make of it?
I felt incredibly honoured to be at the funerals and life celebrations of these two unique and inspirational people and it has given me renewed vigour to check in with my personal mission, roles and goal. You can do anything you want with your life. Literally, anything. If you put your mind to it, very little (if anything) can stand in your way. What’s stopping you?
Go get ’em Tiger.