By Shaam S-Dot Jones for The S-Dot Files
Let me be great…this is what those of us reared in the hard knock everyday struggle of Brooklyn want.
As I sat down to write my sister in-law Miriam Carey’s obituary last week, I thought long and hard about my life, and the lives of those around me. I make my living as a writer. I’ve written countless obituaries over the years. Each opportunity presents a new set of creative challenges.
How much to do I include? What should I exclude?
In a nutshell, an obituary is a snapshot summary of a lifetime of experiences. I don’t believe in boilerplate prose that doesn’t convey the uniqueness of the narrative of each person’s life; so I make considerable effort in having an open dialogue with the family and friends to gain a more meaningful perspective of who they were individually. This isn’t always the fastest process, but I have found it to be the most rewarding. It gives those grieving something to cherish as they look back and reflect on their lost loved ones.
Miriam Carey was not a sound bite. Her 34 years of life cannot be simply reduced to a segment between commercials. She was a mother, daughter, sister, friend, coworker and a neighbor to many. Miriam made a difference in the lives of those who knew her. Many of you have spent the last few days talking about and seeking #AnswersForMiriamCarey, my question is: What will people say about you when you’re gone?
The reason some many people go without is because of the fear of going within to unearth the life-limiting beliefs and love-blocking behaviors that keep you from becoming and being the best Y-O-U. From time-to-time, we each need a ‘reality check’ to awaken us from our dreams so we can focus achieving them. Let me share two with you.
REALITY CHECK NO 1:
You Are Going to Die
No matter how successful you become. Whether or not you accomplish your goals or continue to procrastinate and pretend today isn’t the tomorrow you were waiting for to make a change. All of us are going to one day bid this world farewell, period.
REALITY CHECK NO 2:
People Will Talk About You
Some people are addicted to CNN (as in Constantly Negative News). Let the legacy you leave behind be more than just idle gossip on other people’s lips. You might as well give them something worth talking about it.
Miriam lived by the “Don’t be good…Be great” mantra inbred in Brooklynites. She lived with a next-level focus, never settling for less-than-best in all she did and aspired to do. The everyday challenges of life taught her that whining isn’t winning. This was a quality we both shared. and one which I see in her sister, my wife.
Your obituary hasn’t been written yet. Today is yet another opportunity to influence what people will someday say about you. Don’t waste another moment staring in the rearview mirror of regret worrying about things that could’ve, should’ve and would’ve been – focus on what is. Remember, the reason it’s called the ‘present’ is because it’s a ‘gift’ which you need to value by being responsible, accountable and productive.
The life you’ve been given should be worth living. If you find that you spend most of your time daydreaming about other people’s success and wishing you had what others have then you definitely need The Remix. Until next time - #DontBeGoodBeGreat