02 Jan The Big Rewrite
As I’m writing this, I am also preparing to speak at the celebration of life of a friend in a few days. Funerals are always hard no matter the story but some seem a bit harder because of special circumstances like in this one. My friend was only 51 and passed just before Christmas. His parents are still living and his children are still relatively young. That’s just not the way things are supposed to go. That’s not on the script.
One of the things we all do is what I call write scripts. Our scripts are the story lines of how we imagine life is supposed to go; relationships we will have, families we will create, jobs we will do, lifestyles we will live, and so on. Even death is on the script. Normally, the script says that we will live until about 90 and pass peacefully at home. We get a lot of comfort and even motivation from our scripts.
So what do we do when life goes off script? For many it is very upsetting and even disorienting when things don’t go close to how we imagined they would. It can even be qualified as traumatic when things go too far awry. I can tell you that my friend’s family is struggling and understandably so. They are facing an outcome they could not imagine and are being called to make decisions and plans that they never imagined they would have to make.
Despite our best efforts and highest hopes, life doesn’t always stay on script and in fact, I’d say that everyone has some twists, turns, or reversals that they just didn’t see coming. Even now, most of you are thinking in terms of starting a new year and about some goals and expectations for it. I hope it works out just as you desire and imagine. When it doesn’t, you will probably become sad and frustrated at the least and at the worst, stopped cold in your tracks. Please remember that those script changing moments, as difficult as some are, cannot be ending points as much as they must be (albeit forced) direction changes. Prepare to grieve what was lost or not done but also be ready to gather yourself and write a new story that moves you forward again. I believe deeply that the ability to re-imagine and re-write is one of the attributes that distinguish those who are able to get the most out of life – whatever it brings and however long it lasts.