Jul 242006

To write about a very odd letter I wrote today. It is the oddest letter I have ever written in my life and I wanted to share the experience and the reasoning with you all, in case you might want to write a similar letter.

A few months ago I was struck with the idea of writing a eulogy. Not just any eulogy, my eulogy. I wanted to write what I wanted to be said at my funeral. Not that I wanted it to be said at my funeral, but so I’d get an idea of what kind of person I wanted to be by how I wanted to be remembered. However, I never could get around to it.

Over the weekend, though, I had the idea that instead of writing a eulogy, I would write a letter to be opened in case of my death. I will attempt to revise and update it from year to year. This has been one of the single-most emotion filled activities I’ve done for some time. As I was writing messages for specific people, I found that I had many regrets about some people and none about others. Finding this out alone was worth writing this letter. I can now try to fix those regrets and try to establish a better relationship with those people.

While I had originally wanted to gain more insight about how I truly want to live my life (I may still have to write my eulogy for that), I gained something as good. I learned about my relationships with people and how I want to deal with them now by how I wish I had dealt with them if I was to die. I don’t want to die with regrets and this helps me figure some of them out now so I can fix them.

It also puts things in perspective. I have an issue with a person. They’re demanding something of me that I feel I don’t want to give or do, but writing about it made me understand they it’s very important to them and that I’m willing to compromise on that point because I would regret not doing so then. I’m willing to put in the time and the effort to make them happy because I don’t want that on my conscience

This is similar to a way I handle some situations. If I get into an argument with someone and we stop talking, I ask myself, "If I was to find out I’m going to die tomorrow, what’s the first thing I’d do?" and the answer is obviously that I’d resolve this issue with them. Oftentimes, after a day or two of not speaking, the original matter isn’t as important as the stubborness of both people, so we’re usually both pretty receptive to what the other has to say. This really does help me understand the value of time.

This letter also helped me to understand the value of time. If I was going to die a year from now, what would I do? What would I work on? How would I spend my days? These sort of questions do two things. 1) They help ground me in the present. If I know when I’m going to die, then I’m going to enjoy every moment. So why not enjoy every moment when I don’t know when I’m going to die. 2) It helps me to figure out what’s important. Obviously I have to be reasonable and practical but overall I can tell I’d rather be writing or making movies than crunching numbers.

I would recommend sitting down and seriously writing a letter like this. It does help to clear some things up. Take care.

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