My friend, Rob Filmer, died in November this year at the age of 46. Reading the many condolences sent to his wife, Julie and talking to people at the beautiful funeral service I was struck by the huge number of people who had been touched by Rob during that relatively short life. Tributes written on the internet by people such as Clem Sunter reminded me of Rob’s many achievements in the fields of conservation and of disability access and integration. I commented to Julie that Rob achieved in his 46 years more than many people do in a lifetime twice as long.
It set me to wondering why. Perhaps it would have been that way no matter what Rob’s health and life expectancy had been? Perhaps it was also heightened by his knowing that he was always on borrowed time?
Rob was diagnosed with diabetes before he turned two. The doctors thought he would be fortunate to reach his twenties. In his late twenties he and Julie married with the doctors saying he only had a year to live. Together they enjoyed seventeen special years living and working together.
We all know that we have a limited life span but we don’t often pay too much attention. There is an old coaching question that asks “What legacy would you like to leave behind?” or “What do you think your eulogy will be?” A friend, a little older than me, told me how she was sat at her brother’s funeral listening to his eulogy when she thought of what hers would sound like – and she didn’t like what she heard! It was such a defining moment for her that she resigned from her job and recreated herself completely.
This is a good time of year for us to focus on living our lives to the full. Without being morbid, focus on living your life in a way that would leave few regrets. Spend time on yourself so you are strong and can give of yourself to others, spend time with loved ones, either choose to enjoy the work you have or the life you live, or take action to bring about the changes you want to see.