Last Sunday, over the Christmas break one of the principals that I work closely with, dropped dead at 38-years old, leaving behind a wife and a four-year old daughter. This principal was a dynamic leader, loved children, but most importantly to me, and for the purposes of this post, so young.
I haven’t been to a funeral in years. And the last person that I buried was my grandfather, a man well into his nineties.
As I watched them close the casket, all I could think about were the suits, Air Jordans, and Timberlands in his office closet that his wife would have to collect before another principal takes his spot. At the funeral, the pastor,a former high school teacher, delivered this principal’s “last lesson plan.”
The essential question of this lesson was, “What are you doing with your time?” I know that we hear this and attend to these words with temporary intent when things like this happen and then return to living without purpose and not fully to our potential, present company included.
It’s been a few emotional days and I have been reflecting on this question. Here are some of the gentle reminders I received.
1. Wait… but not too long in relationships. This is for the good and bad in life. While I would never tell anyone to leave a friendship, relationship, or marriage without exhausting all possibilities, I will say that you don’t know when it will be your time to go, so make sure you are living as close to happiness as you can.
2. Make a Bucket List: What is it that you want to experience? What do you want your eulogy to read?
3. Speak Your Mind: Don’t be afraid to tell someone how you feel. If you need to have a difficult conversation, take action to do so. If you haven’t told the people that you value how much they mean to them, take the time to do so now.
4. Work LESS. Prior to this principal’s death, I was supposed to visit his school to celebrate a recent accomplishment, but cancelled last minute because I had to do some paperwork. That was a Friday. That Sunday, he stopped breathing on the way to the hospital. Wondering if I finished that damn paperwork? It’s still on my desk and that is what I will be working on this week.
5. Spend the Money..within reason. I know that I am the resident frugalista, so I would never say spend your mortgage, tuition, or retirement money on foolishness. But if you find that you are knuckling and tight-gripping EVERY nickel, I would say live a little and find a balance so you can enjoy your money responsibly.
If this post (though morbid) inspired you to live life with a little more intention, please share it with someone that could benefit from the message.