Looking Toward That Last Day

Bill Abbate

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Understanding what we want in the future helps us plan in the near term. Looking into the future and creating a plan is common for many of us. You see it in business all the time. Most organizations look at what they want to accomplish at the end of a quarter or year and implement a plan to achieve their goals. We do the same thing in our family life as we look toward the next phase of our children's education, the costs, and the necessities required to get them there.

Looking into the future

I recall decades ago looking forward to retiring, dreaming about how, where, and with whom I would spend those years. For me, it was to move back to my home state of Virginia to be closer to family and to have a comfortable home and lifestyle with my wife. Once we had achieved our dreams, we would travel and enjoy life forevermore. Or so I thought.

Life has a way of altering our course, and when my first wife died of cancer so young, it derailed my plans. Unfortunately, I lost my daughter not long after, in her mid-thirties. With little or no notice, the two most important people in my life were no more. How can anyone recover from such tragedies?

My dreams of moving home and retiring to a wonderful life did eventually come true. I am so fortunate to have met my wonderful wife Jane, who is now by my side. We each feel so blessed to live where we do and enjoy our lives greatly. And we were traveling a reasonable amount until Covid hit. Fortunately, things are opening up, and we intend to begin traveling once again.

No matter what life throws at you, never give up. Your dreams may well come true despite the hardships and tragedies that can happen along the way.

There is real power in seeing what you want in the future. The more clearly you can see that dream, the more you will draw it to you. All you need is a dream and the time to make it happen. Of course, planning and working your plan never hurts! I am so thankful my dreams finally came true!

Looking to the end

Regardless of age, most of us give little thought to the end, thinking we will live forever. But we know that is not the case. Old man time eventually catches up with us. While I am enjoying this beautiful fall season in my life, I know winter is around the corner, and that makes me wonder more about the end. While this may be a morbid thought to some of you, it is the reality of life in this body of flesh. It will end one day.

Fortunately for those of us who are believers in Christ, we know what comes next. It is a comforting thought, and while none of us want to die, at least we know there is more after this life.

Gaining clarity

Having a great deal of experience in business and life on looking down the road and planning how to get there, I believe it can tremendously benefit us to do the same. Many people have written about the importance of imagining what your obituary will say to put your life into perspective. Others go so far as to suggest you write your obituary to gain more clarity about the life you are living.

If you were to write your obituary, where would you start? Why not start with questions like the following?

  • What do you want life to have meant to you?
  • What difference do you want to have made in this world and in others?
  • What were the top five highlights in your life?
  • What are a couple of favorite memories?
  • What are your top three greatest accomplishments?
  • Who did you love enough to give your life for?
  • How do you want your loved ones to honor your memory?
  • What is your favorite song?
  • What legacy will you leave behind?

What other questions would you add to these?

By giving thought to such questions, you will better understand the life you wish to live and who you want to become before that final day. Why not devote some time and journal your thoughts about each of the above questions and any others you wish to add? It will help you prepare for that final day in a way nothing else can!

Final thoughts

Thinking about our final day is not exactly a fun topic, is it? To go through life without giving it a thought is similar to being robbed of the understanding and clarity you could gain by doing so. Don't allow anything or anyone, including yourself, to steal the gift of preparing for what will one day happen. What you will gain by giving the subject of your last day some thought will prove to be invaluable to you and to all those you care about and love.

While the subject of this article is serious, I want to end it on a lighter note. One of my favorite founding fathers of our country once said:

"I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up." Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

And a few quick one-liners to give you a chuckle!

- The Funeral is a grave affair.

- After seeing an ad for burial plots, I thought this was the last thing I needed.

- The will is a dead giveaway.

- The seven ages of man: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills and wills.

- Smoking will kill you... Bacon will kill you... But, smoking bacon will cure it.

May you live a long life that makes a real difference to many others in the world!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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