How Do You Want To Be Remembered

2014, today, this year, is the right time to seize the day

This is such a beautifully moving tribute to life and to Natalie’s friend, who recently died. It’s also a wonderfully inspiring and galvanizing piece. A manifesto for this new year, this new day, a year to actually be the person you want to be, to make the changes you want to see in your life. And if you’re into astrology (thanks Anne Ortelee!), dig this, it’s the ideal moment to make these resolutions and have them stick. So make that long list of what you resolve to do, who you resolve to be, and know you have the planets got your back. Thanks Natalie, for inspiring and challenging me! I look forward to reading more weekly articles in your column, “Baby & Beyond – What No One Else Will Tell You,” and I definitely look forward to more of those kick ass workout videos you make for us here at Happiness Series! xo Tania

Image from bethhartdesigns.blogspot.com

In the wake of the New Year I find many of us, including me, get caught up in making goals for the year to come. Each of us thinks that we have 365 days – a brand new canvas of a year – to create, inspire and achieve. The truth of the matter is, though, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow or even what’s left of today. While it’s important not to live life in a bubble with a doomsday mortality, it’s also worth noting that the present is our only guarantee. Carpe Diem.

Nothing is as sobering a reminder of how short and fragile life is as having someone you know pass away. In high school I remember a girl a few years younger than I died in a car wreck. My friends and I attended her funeral. Hearing her friends talk about her at the memorial service was not only sad, but it made me think about how I wanted to be remembered. Being the writer I am, I wanted to go home and write my own eulogy, so that people would know exactly what to say about me at my funeral when the time arrived. This is not how funerals work – friends and family remember us as they see us not as we see ourselves.

When another friend of mine died last week in a sudden and tragic car wreck I was once again reminded how short our time on this earth really could be. My friend was only 29 years old, and of course the accident was unexpected and shocking. One week here we are at yoga class talking about Christmas and our families, and the next she is gone forever. As heartbreaking as her death is, I have taken it as another opportunity to reevaluate my life, the path I have chosen, and the legacy I want to leave. I have been understandably sad about my friend, but I also have to tend to my 9 month old daughter who commands my attention. My daughter is a reminder to me that life goes on with or without you and while tragedy is unavoidable, there’s still days to be filled.

So this begs the question… how do you want to be remembered?

You will not be remembered by the person YOU think you are, but by the person others perceive you to be. What is the legacy you want to leave for your children, your family, and your friends? With the advancement of social media it is possible that the status update you post on Facebook or the photo you upload to Instagram could be your very last. While it’s never pleasant to think about our own deaths, what I would like you to think about is the life you are leading now. Is your life one worth looking back on or are you merely existing?

I have seen several “challenges” (workout challenges or eating right challenges) pop up in the wake of a new year, and with those comes the documenting the days passing. Some are posting photos each day and others are posting videos.

There’s a new application called flipgram where you can piece together a 15 or 30 second video with music of whatever photos you chose. It’s almost a living memorial tribute to oneself. To me, it’s a beautiful idea to try and capture a moment of a day or sum up a year in fast moving photo montage or a video. We are not, however, guaranteed the next year ahead, and no one truly knows when his or her time is up.

My friend’s death has inspired me to look at each moment in each day and make that count. To use every opportunity I am afforded to express gratitude for my loved ones. I now see a year as counted in minutes and hours not days, weeks, and months. In one instant life can change and you never know when it might be too late to do the list of things you’ve always wanted to do. Why stay in a job, a city, a relationship or even a house when it isn’t serving you?

If you are not sure what direction your life is going, or what impact you are making on this world, than I encourage you to simply write your own obituary. I know it might sound strange, but if you had to sum up your life based on where you are at and what you have accomplished right now, where would you be? Set long term goals, of course, like a year long challenge, but also set daily goals and strive to reach them in the waking hours you have.

This is the year to make long lists of goals and dreams you hope to accomplish. Set the bar high and post your goals where you can see them daily. Give yourself a time of day (“I will clean out that junk drawer by 2pm today.”) or a day in a month (“By October 23rd I will have taken 60 yoga classes.”) when you want to reach your goal by. You are more likely to achieve your goals when you give yourself a deadline.

You will soon find that you will love more, smile more, and embrace life – even the crappy moments – with more zest. Especially once you come to terms with your own mortality.

Think of the people you’ve met and wonder, if they had to sum up your life in a few words, what would they say about you? Then strive beyond those few words.

Happy New Year. Happy New Day. Go love. Go live.

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About the Author: Natalie Magee writes a regular column for Happiness Series about what motherhood and beyond - from prenatal to postpartum. Her intention with her column, "Baby & Beyond - What No One Else Will Tell You" is to give practical advice and tips to the busy mom and mom-to-be. She also shares her experiences good, bad and ugly as a woman, wife, mom, flight attendant and fitness instructor. Natalie is also a regular fitness contributor on Happiness Series. She will continue to create great, effective workouts for anyone - including the busy moms out there - who wants to get fit and stay in shape.

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