Reading Obituaries


I consider myself to be a spiritual person, but I can’t put it in a box or easily define it. I’ve taken bits from lots of areas and welded them together for my own unique spirituality that works for me. I’ve written about Taoism in a few previous posts, but one of the other branches on my spirituality tree is Stoicism.

This isn’t going to be a Stoicism 101 post, but one of the core ideas of Stoicism is to think about your own death. Not from a morbid place, but if you think today could be the day I die, it can drive my actions to align with who I want to be. It forces a choice to do the thing or say what I want now cause I might not get another chance.

One of the ways to do this meditation on my own death is to read obituaries. Again not from a morbid curiosity place, but to keep my life in perspective. And also going back to that alignment piece, what will my family and friends say about me? Will I like what they’d write for my obituary? And if not, then I have the choice today to adjust accordingly. And reading obituaries puts me in my place and reminds me I’m not going to live forever and none of us is guaranteed a tomorrow, so live accordingly.

I had lost sight of this practice and as the universe has a way of working, I was running on the trails today and reminded myself that I hadn’t read the obituaries lately and wondered how I could reestablish that practice. And the universe delivered that today when I was directed to a local paper’s website which had obituaries on it. I had to shake my head and smile.

It’s a practice I’ve walked away from without a specific intention to, but was grateful to be reminded of it today and to have a place to gain that perspective and allow me the chance to evaluate how I’m living and adjust as needed. Cause wouldn’t me all want that before it’s too late? Well, I know I do.

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