The new year is here, its the first full week of 2019, and you may have made some resolutions. The most commonly mentioned ones are typically losing weight and improving one's finances.
You are determined that 2019 is going to be your year: you are going to skip that extra drink and get up early for that trip to the gym... you are going to be more focused at work and present with your family... You are going to look at your phone less, and look people in the eye more... You are going to save for the future, while living today to the fullest... You are going to learn a new skill, finally read that book, and finish that project. This year is the year you make taking care of yourself a priority.
There is a good chance you made one of these, or similar resolutions in other years, but this year you are determined will be the year you get it together.
Let's think about why those resolutions didn't work before, and how you can achieve your goals this year. Perspective. Some of it is your perspective of other people, as social media makes it look like so many people have it together... even their "Pinterest Fail" posts are still funny, and are what great shareable content is made of. It is easy to get a distorted idea of what success is, and how much people are actually doing. Your feed is full of people doing all manner of things, such as getting promotions, pregnancy announcements, baby photos, their family vacations, and their kids successes. First off, that is a lot of people, and secondly, they are not sharing the monotony of their drive to work, or that there is person at work that is driving them to drink at night, or how their child/spouse/parent/friend is routinely undermining/insulting/belittling/ignoring them.
There is also the perspective that you have of your life, including the time you have to work on these things, and the tools you have at your disposal to accomplish them. For instance, let's say you have losing weight as a goal.. great! This can give you more energy to do more, help you sleep better, and be healthier overall. Let's start tomorrow, or after the weekend, or the holidays, or vacation, or.... Before you know it, its another New Year and you are making a new goal to lose that weight. The fact that there is always tomorrow to work on that, means it's really not that much of a priority to you... even if you really think it is. If you are putting off starting the process, then something else is a bigger priority.
How can you change your perspective, and create priorities out of things that are resolutions? How about writing your eulogy, or writing your partners eulogy, or pre-planning your funeral, or (my personal favorite), contacting me to help create your vigil plan! Well, this is a blog about death and grief right? What did you think I was going to suggest? Hear me out though... we all die. You will, and your partner will, and everyone else will. Your death and funeral will be attended by people who love you. At your funeral people will talk about what kind of person you were, as well as that hysterical Pinterest Fail you had that one time. Spending time thinking about, and planning these things, arguably the biggest event of your life, can help change your perspective. If you want freshly popped popcorn at your vigil (as my neighbor said he does), then maybe the joy of spending time with people over some good food, and watching bad movies is really your priority. Thinking about a casket that is extra wide, might encourage you to take an extra long walk before that movie though.
Thinking about, and even planning, the momentous event of your death is normal, and healthy, and truly does lead you to live a happier, healthier life. We spend countless amounts of time, energy, and money into life events such as planning weddings, or the birth of babies, but despite the fact that all of us will die one day, the thought of putting any time into planning it, is still taboo, unless your are terminally ill.
In my experience planning a vigil, or a funeral, brings a sense of calm and love that you might not expect... a sense of calm in the reality. So this year, resolve to take care of you first, because you can't pour from an empty cup, and finally accomplish those things you have been trying to do for years, by first planning your death.
What is your resolution this year?
My name is Abby, my life has been touched many times by loss and grief. This life has led me to helping others navigate their own grief. I have become a INELDA trained End Of Life Doula and a hospice volunteer. I am not a professional counselor or psychologist and all advice given should be treated as advice from a friend.