Loren likes to tell the joke that the first half of your life, you build your resume and the second half you build your obituary. Seeing the world’s response to John McCain’s passing, I started to realize that for me, neither are all that important.
Your resume is a summary of who you are for the purpose of getting a job. It says nothing of your character, focuses only on professional achievements, and only hints at your potential. An obituary is a fact-based listing of your accomplishments in life; family, career, civic organizations…BOR-ING.
But a eulogy is a personal reflection on how you impacted someone’s life. What you did for them. How you changed them. What you meant to them. I didn’t see all, but I watched some of the eulogies on YouTube. What struck me, was that each of these people stood up and talked intimately about their relationship with the Senator, father, friend, man. They joked, praised, criticized and cried when reflecting on that relationship. The point was to empathetically strike a chord with thousands of other people that were touched in the same way. They spoke for countless others.
When I think about the second half of my life, I want to think about how people will eulogize me. I want to be part of people’s lives in such a way that there is a packed hall, full of people with fond memories of me, all eager to talk about how I impacted their lives and made them, and the world, better.
While Senator McCain was alive, he asked his friends and family to deliver eulogies for him. Imagine that conversation. Imagine being confident enough in your life and the people you have interacted with, that you can call on them to say good things about you after you are gone.
As I consider the totality of my life and more importantly, what lies before me, I’m thinking about my eulogy and how I want people to remember me. We should all be as lucky as John McCain to impact the world and make it a better place. I’m trying. I will try harder. John McCain is an inspiration.
(No matter what you have seen for clips on the news, I challenge you to watch all of this video and not cry.)