Just getting in under the wire at eight days in, but I’ve never been much for technicalities. It’s a wonderful thing to feel a bit of a fresh start in life. And better still is taking a stand for something that matters to you. This post was going in a particular direction when I started, and in the course of 24 hours I upended my plan and put a stake in the ground for what’s been tugging at my heart all year.
If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you’ve heard the story of Aaron Collins, who left a last wish to leave a $500 tip to a server for a pizza (which led to over $60,000 being donated for future $500 tips.) For 10 years this has been my guiding inspiration. The power of that, and what would be possible if this were the norm and not a quirky, amazing rarity, is what propels me.
To wit: My new focus!
My tagline was “putting a little life into your last wishes”
It’s now “putting a little Last Wishes into your life”
Same words, different order, juicier idea.
Everyone and his/her/their brother is now encouraging better, more personalized and fun funerals. But Last Wishes?! That needs a ringleader. Now, I don’t have a strategy for spreading this message, and have no idea how to make it a thing. I only know that I can’t get the vision out of my head of what the world would be like if everyone left Last Wishes, big or small, and the uplifting difference that would make.
So without a current game plan for spreading this idea, all I can think to do is share some of my own Last Wishes as an example. They’re not big or noble, and they’re not necessarily the best I can come up with, but they’re a few of what I got so far. (Like so much of end-of-life planning, it’s a work in progress.) So this is part of my funeral plans: Last Wishes that people… someone…anyone! carry these out.
1) Become a first-time or a committed, regular blood donor
2) Go on a safari
3) Become an ongoing supporter of The Hunger Project
4) Run your first 10K
5) Register with Be The Match (bone marrow donor program)
Now, to demonstrate the potential here. None of these are $500 tip for a pizza level — I may or may not get that ambitious with future Last Wishes. But if only one person does any of these things only one time, it’s still made a contribution to a good cause or their own enrichment. And who knows… any one of these could become much more. Just maybe the person who registers with Be The Match winds up being the perfect match for someone needing a life-saving blood marrow transplant, and voilà —saving a life is about as good as it gets. That would be a legacy I could live with (in the afterlife, of course).
And obviously, these are random things that only reflect my values in life. Every person’s Last Wishes will be different, and they will mean something poignant to their loved ones.
Would love to know what your Last Wishes are.