Years ago a friend wrote her epitaph. She reasoned by knowing how she wanted to be remembered, she’d know how to conduct her life. A week or two later she decided she wanted a list of rules she would abide by along with a code of ethics to guide her, so she wrote a manifesto for her life.
Because we parted ways after high school, I don’t know how her story unfolded. However, as one who didn’t do either and spent a number of years floundering, I can’t help but wonder if she was onto something.
After all, if you don’t know your destination, how will you know when you arrive? It is by knowing what you value most (your short & succinct epitaph), and what you are willing to do to get there (the declaration of your manifesto), you create touchstones and markers to keep you on a course you can live with. You also have a means of choosing a direction when you come to a crossroad. By writing both the epitaph and manifesto, you give yourself the gift of flexibility and freedom because you don’t waste energy doubting or second guessing yourself.
The good news is, even if you didn’t do this in high school, you can write them today.
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