I can’t think of anything worse than getting to the end of your life, and realizing you have wasted it.
I posted earlier in the week about crafting the life you want by starting with the end in mind, and working back to the middle.
If you know how you want your life to turn out, you can move in that direction. If you don’t know what a meaningful life will look like for you…do you even have a chance of living a life that matters?
As Emma Coats points out in her tweet about story basics, once you have the ending, filling out the middle is easy.
Umm, how do you figure out the end?
As I tried to craft what I wanted at the end of my own life, I realized how hard that really is. I needed help–I needed some rails to ride on. But this is my life, and no one else can define it for me. I wanted to figure this out on my own.
I did what I often do when I don’t know the answer–I started asking questions until a path began to emerge.
I want you to be able to figure out your ending now, so that you can live a life that gets you to your desired finish. Here are the questions I used to create a vision for how I want my life to matter. I encourage you to use them as rails to guide you as you figure out your ending.
1. If you found out you were going to die in one hour, what regrets would you have?
Would you have relational regrets? Would you regret spending too much time in certain endeavors (would you regret not spending enough time in others)?
2. How many people do you want at your funeral?
Do you want to have a huge turnout, with a lot of people you knew only superficially (and maybe many that you didn’t know at all, like a celebrity would have)? Do you want to have a more intimate gathering, with a handful of family and friends that knew you intimately? Maybe you want something in between.
3. What emotions do you want people to feel at your funeral?
Aside from sadness, what other emotions do you want your mourners to feel? Will they feel empowered by your life, or sit in admiration (or even envy)?
4. What do you want people to miss the most about you?
Will people miss your laugh? Maybe your wisdom. Do you prefer to be remembered for your encouragement?
5. What stories do you want people to tell at your funeral?
Do you want people telling stories about your epic adventures? Would you rather have them telling funny stories, recalling times when you would do things that led you to laugh at yourself? Or perhaps you would like them to tell stories about how you changed the world.
6. What accomplishments do you want them to remember?
Will they remember the orphanage you built? Did you build a business from scratch? Will you amass large sums of money, that you can leave to your family, or to charity?
Figuring out the end is hard–perhaps even more difficult than actually living the middle. However, compared to getting to the end of your life and realizing it didn’t matter, doesn’t it seem to be worth the effort?
Question: Were these questions helpful to you in figuring out the ending of your story? Are there any questions you would add? Share your thoughts in the comments section.