What does reading the death notices say about me?

Maybe I am a morbid voyeur? Maybe I am simply weird?

  • I don’t know somebody that is sick that is likely to die soon.
  • Nor am I in the age group where friends are regularly popping their clogs.
  • And no – this is not a recent thing. Reading the death notices has been a regular thing for many years and it is only now that I have reflected on it and thought about why I do it.

So why do I read the death notices?

Picture the scene – it is a peaceful Sunday morning in Melbourne and I am sitting in bed with a cup of tea and my favourite newspaper (OK – so maybe I am also weird in that I still read a hard copy of the paper). I flick through the front part of the paper and read the articles of interest. And then I go to the death notices and do a scan. What is that about? What exactly am I looking for?

Good question. And one that I have been asking myself.

Once I started thinking about it, I realized that there are two key things I look for;

1. Evidence of a life well-lived – I love reading the death notices that talk about a person that has been a great support, friend or mentor to other people and who has made a positive contribution to the world. I am that stereotypical achievement-oriented vet and these notices inspire me to focus on the important things in life rather than filling my life from dawn to dusk with busy and maybe unimportant work.

2. A reminder to put my problems in perspective and be grateful for what I have.  I have problems – doesn’t everybody? But I also have great people and experiences in my life and every day I have the opportunity to enjoy what I do, to live a worthy life and to make a difference. The people I am reading about no longer have this opportunity. They may have died before their time, before they got to realise their dreams or their potential –  that makes me sad.

Reading the death notices makes me realise just how lucky I am.

(Please do yourself a favour and read the blog on luck if you haven’t already done so – I definitely believe that winning the lottery is lucky!)

So maybe reading the death notices is a weird way to be inspired, to have perspective and to be grateful. Maybe going out in nature and marveling at the natural world is a more socially acceptable way of doing it.

But I am going to keep reading them. We only have so much time and energy in our lives and this is a strategy that keeps me on track to make sure that my time and energy counts.

And it gets me wondering;

  • What do you do to remind yourself to have perspective and to be grateful for what you have?
  • What would you like people to say about you in your death notice?
  • What is the change you are wanting to make in this world?

Please share. We would love to hear from you.