Friday Morning Obituary Writing

Roses

It’s Friday morning, the day before Valentines Day.

I’m lying in my bed with my wife, mildly hung over from happy hour (just ever so slightly; more dehydrated really) literally thinking about my obituary.

I read somewhere that the terribly morbid act of writing your own is actually a good way to figure out a what sort of legacy you’d like to leave.

Ever since quitting my job in advertising, presumably to chase more ‘noble’ and ‘fulfilling’ pursuits, I’ve been trying to wrap my head entirely around the decision to become a writer as a profession.

It’s really scary reading all the conflicting good and bad things out there if you dig into it. Most of it is valid to an extent. What’s crazy is that much of the advice that says “don’t do it”, come from journalists / writers.

Some friends and colleagues will tell you to follow your passion. Some like Mark Cuban will tell you to follow your effort. Some will tell you to follow the money — which as a journalist, for the most part, there isn’t any.

The best advice that I read so far came from Ryan Holiday, one of my favorite writers (who doesn’t even identify as such), in a post titled, “So You Want to Be A Writer? That’s Mistake #1“.

In short, he said that writing things people want to read really boils down to doing interesting things that people want to hear about; things that you’re dying to tell people about. Fair enough.

His advice resonated with me because I’ve heard it before from an old professor at the University of Illinois.

He said that if you want to be interesting, you first have to be interested.

Can’t argue with that, really.

So what does that mean for me? What does that mean for you, the reader who’s listening to my Friday morning stream of consciousness?

It means that there’s a lot of noise out there.

Many people will try to show you the blueprint to ‘success’. But nobody hasthee blueprint, they just have their blueprint.

None of it is really guaranteed to play out like the blueprint says anyways. Haven’t you ever seen an episode of The Property Brothers?

Most of us are like new, unfamiliar parents with a bunch of books, bookmarked web pages and advice from other parents new to the game just hoping not to cause their kids irreparable damage.

In this case though, it’s our own lives (thankfully). No big deal.

In the time that I’ve moved from the bed to the office, I found this enlightening little nugget from Dr. Suess buried in a NY Times article from 1986.

He said, in regards to children aspiring to be writers or artists that, “you can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room”.

Ya know, that sounds picturesque for someone writing their own obituary.


Thanks for reading! If you got any value from this, it would mean a lot to me if you shared it with someone else. Pay it forward. That’s how we all got here after all!

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