The other day I gave a farewell hug to my warm, wise and tiny friend Cari, and as I drove off, it occurred to me that, unlike her, no one will refer to me as “a little slip of a thing.” Ever. I was sad for a moment, and then I thought, you know, you get to a point in life when you’ve taken certain paths and made certain decisions, and are fine with the fact that not every door is open to you any more. When you’re you’re young, the world is a smorgasbord of potential. At least, to those of us who are Swedes. But hugging Cari got me thinking about the paths I have not taken.
In case you’re pre-readying my obituary, here are five things I can guarantee you will never be said about me when I’ve departed:
1) She was a little slip of a thing. No matter how thin I am, or how many inches I recede with age, just not going to happen. Squarely average will be the final stop.
2) She had an iconic sense of style. Makes me chortle, just typing it in. If it goes with black knit pants, I’m there.
3) She was a writer’s writer. Again, no. I’m pretty sure I’m a reader’s writer. Which is to say, a storyteller rather than a wordsmith.
4) She was neat as a pin. As exhibit A, here is my desk. I only show you because it’s recently been straightened.My daughter seems to have gotten this gene. I still remember how, when she was in fifth grade, her teacher stood in front of her cubby and told us with some sorrow that “being neat doesn’t seem to be one of her core values.” And I’m right there with her. (Although her tack trunk is exemplary. We can do it when it’s necessary and/or prized by people in the outside world.) But I can usually put my hands on anything I need. Somehow, though, not being a desk minimalist gives permission to my inner world to be creative and crammed with possibility. Is that weird?
5) She can turn a dime into a dollar. Nope. But I could have about as much fun with the dime as is legally allowed.
And, for bonus points: She was way cooler than her musician brother. Don’t even try.
This, of course, gave rise to the other side of the sentiment: what would I most like people to say about me when I’m gone? What am I working towards on a daily basis (whether I achieve it or not)?
1) She saw the best in people and helped them to see the best in themselves.
2) She contributed to an extraordinary family and group of friends.
3) She liked her faith the same way she liked her fictional heroes: dangerous.
4) She loved life and appreciated every day.
5) She thought, and taught, that having adventures was more important than having things.
And, for bonus points: She loved this life, but couldn’t wait to move on to what was next!
So that’s what I know folks won’t say; and what I’m working towards.
What would they actually say?
Well, I guess that’s for you to tell me!