It is my father-in-love’s death anniversary today, April 7 (I call my in-laws my in-loves because I feel that the term is more appropriate); anyway, going back, his passing as well as those of other relatives made me realize just how fleeting life is. In death, everything that we are and everything that we have done, is reduced to a form covered in white cloth. Death is really the greatest equalizer.
No matter how rich, famous or successful you are, when death knocks on your door, we are all just a bag of bones.
It brought to mind the scenario Stephen Covey gave in his book on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. If we were to imagine our own death, with our bodies in a casket lying in wake, who would we want to be around? What do we want them to say about us and the lives we lived? What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind?
I believe it is time to do what Clayton Christensen says: “think about the metric by which your life will be judged and make a resolution to live everyday so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.” Please humor me and allow me to share my metrics because I believe that declaring it publicly will make me more acutely aware of what I am accountable for. It is my deepest desire that:
- I will be a loving presence in the lives of people I touch.
- People will walk away from every interaction with me feeling better about themselves.
- I will live true to my personal creed of integrity, excellence and a life beyond reproach.
- I will truly be the Psych Siren, bringing the discipline of psychology into the forefront of public consciousness in whatever way I can.
- I will be the consummate HR professional reaching the pinnacle of my career.
- I will be a citizen of the world—seeing the world without borders, class, color and leaving it better than I found it.
- I will give birth to the book The Constellation of Chaos and do everything I can to share it with the world.
I know some of the items I listed seems impossible to achieve but they are included precisely because they are ideals that I will always aspire to until the day I die.
Which is why I was very deeply saddened when I received a really scathing comment on my article on Unveiling the Mutya Mystique. I tried emailing the person back but alas, it bounced back. The reader said I was full of shit, because of the suffering I caused when he or she was working for and with me. While I do not know the context of the comments and cannot apologize appropriately, it is my hope that the people I have hurt have healed from the experience and that they will be kind enough to give me the opportunity to grow from it by offering constructive criticism.
Experiences like these underscore the fact that we really need to determine what we truly want to be and do in life. It enables us to define for ourselves the life that we want to live and truly be captains of our own destiny, instead of allowing life to happen to us and have our circumstances shape our lives for us.
This is the reason why, every day, I prepare to die. I do not believe in YOLO, after all we live every day, but we only die once. I always do my best to ensure I have no unfinished business with the people whose presence have graced my life.
What about you? Are you ready to die now?