How Will You be Remembered? A Guide to Epitaphs
The process of deciding what to put on your own memorial can be both difficult and odd. Difficult because we are all complicated creatures, so it's hard to think of one phrase, quote, or saying to capture the entirety of one's life. Odd because you’re still alive, so thinking about your memorial can feel more than a little weird.
Because of this, in this post, we'll focus on two things:
- How to decide what to put on your memorial and
- That deciding what to put on your memorial while you’re still alive actually has its benefits--not only for your loved ones in the future, but also for you now.
First, what to say?
Obviously, there are many different ways to answer this question, but one helpful way might be to consider what's at your center, your core. What are you living for? What drives you to be the person you are? What drives you to be the person you want to be? What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night?
For some of you, this might be your religious faith. For others, it's your family. Or it could be the natural world, your country, your career, or anything else, really. Whatever it is for you, consider including something about that on your epitaph. At the end of the day, you want to be remembered for who you are at your center--and this is one way to help make sure that happens.
Second, why is deciding this now actually helpful?
Obviously, there's the benefit to your loved ones, who won't be left in the dark on how you want to be remembered. During an emotional and stressful time for them, you'll give them one less thing to worry about.
But there's also a benefit to you now. What might that be?
Too often, we can let ourselves get consumed by the "daily grind"--waking up, eating, working, eating, working, eating, relaxing, and falling asleep, only to do it all again the next day. When we get consumed by all of this, we can easily lose sight of the things we care about most. So, taking an hour or two to think through what's at our center and what drives us can actually help remind us who we are and how we should be living differently. This might lead to some important changes in your life now.