When someone is near death or pre-planning for their someday death, they have the option of filling out a bio form. This form collects basic information for the death certificates (which we file for) and the obituary (which we help write if the family asks). It’s one less thing to do later when everyone’s brain is on grief-fire.
I always enjoy reading these forms, just like I enjoy looking at photo boards at funerals and hearing stories of how Grandma was hot for Tim McGraw. Taking this in is like drinking from a sacred goblet.
But not everyone has a full goblet.
There’s a section on that bio form that asks you to list the things in life you are most proud of. In my year of apprenticing, I’ve seen it filled one time.
Okay, these people might be busy, like, dying, and are therefore distracted from romanticizing their lives. But this blank space keeps needling me!
I refuse to believe that corn-fed Midwesterners who fill their refrigerators/car bumpers/forearms/newsfeeds with ALL the thoughts and feelings suddenly have nothing to say. Is our success barometer that fucked?
How we define it of course evolves as we age.
15-year-old me: Success is money.
25-year-old me: Success is acclaim.
35-year old me: Success is vulnerability. And regular poops.
But the really good shit – kindness, forgiveness, courage, gutting love – that’s always going to be the really good shit!
So why isn’t it enough to fill the bastard blank?
Let it be enough.