Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Big Picture

Please note that I plan to live until I'm 90, and am feeling fine. This post may seem morbid but in fact, it is merely introspective.

Three thoughts seem to unite into a theme for me lately:
  • My friend Traci gave a touching eulogy to her grandfather, in the fall of 2007. That was the beginning of a Big Shift in my life.
  • I once read (possibly by Dale Carnegie) that you could measure a life by the number of people who come to your funeral. The idea is that no one fakes that. They must have been moved by something: they aren't trying to impress you.
  • MacLean's magazine dedicates the last page of every weekly edition to an obituary for a regular, non-famous citizen. 90% of the column is about their loved ones and their impact on their community, and then whammo, the last paragraph explains how they passed away. Week after week, its impact really adds up and makes you think.
Now at 40, I find myself considering my own legacy. What will they say at my funeral, many years from now? If I don't like what I imagine, can I change that? I certainly have lots of time.

The truth is that I want to do something much bigger. Possibly out of vanity (a LOT of things stem from vanity), but ostensibly out of goodwill and altruism. I want a project that is bigger than me, and something that will really contribute to a community. Both my Mom and Dad are stellar examples of this in their own lives.

Aha, but which community? Alas, I have decided that it will not be St Louis, as great as it is, and as wonderful as the people are here. It is just too far from home. I have missed a lot of funerals for major people (in my life) on PEI. That really bothers me.

I don't know when, exactly, and I don't know where, but I want to move on. I want people lined around the block at my funeral, because I've done something that moved them to pay respects.



This is random but an interesting tribute to the character of Jean Beliveau, the legendary Montreal Canadien hockey player who defined 'classy'.

I once saw a biography of Jacques Plante. Also a legend, he was an eccentric goalie who played for the Habs and famously pioneered the goalie mask. Much later, he lived in poverty in Switzerland, estranged from his glory days and from his team.

When Plante died, only one Canadien traveled to his funeral in Switzerland: Jean Beliveau.


tracilato said...

I plan for you to live till you're 90, thank you very much.

That said, I encourage you, from a place of experience and from a place of love, to make the moves that make you happy, or that you think will make you happy, more fulfilled, and more connected despite physical distance.

But worry not about your eulogy. What's already written is beautiful and full of commentary on how you've moved me with your friendship... And your jokes... And your musical voicemails. :)

CaptainCanuck said...

Thank you, Traci. I didn't know you would see this post, otherwise I would have written more about the eulogy. It was so heartfelt, sad, and yet funny all at the same time.

It was so good that I remember _feeling_ my priorities shift as I looked upon you and the congregation. And doubly so as I have had the honor of meeting your Grandpa.