I‘ve forbidden my daughter to throw me a funeral in Belgium. The notion of “greeting” the casket weirds me out–even though I’ll be too dead to notice. Also no fan of the bread and cheese buffet or announcements in the newspaper.

Put on some Miles Davis, make a lot of toasts, maybe a few speeches, and plant a tree. Let the tequila and red wine flow, and do what the Americans do… bring food.

Why the focus on such an ending? So 1) the kidlet isn’t tasked with hard decisions at a difficult time and 2) the emphasis goes back to what’s really important–living.

In school, Professor Thompson said a project timeline is best created by working backwards. Her advice works here, too. No project is as important as our time on the planet, however infinite it feels.

Recently, after a culmination of random events (including watching a movie that was a curse on humanity called “That’s My Boy“) I’ve re-prioritized. I’ve made lists of things I must do. The short version is 1) work with people I like 2) do work I love and 3) work hard to leave a positive imprint (hey Adam Sandler, take note). The world should be (at least slightly) better because of my existence, not worse.

How to make that happen? My new approach in all that I encounter follows Prof. Thompson’s directive: work backwards. Now I look at the desired end-result and figure out the steps in reverse to get there, whether it’s writing a spiffy text or hosting a fantastic networking event. Hard work has more purpose when it’s integrated into leaving a legacy.

My family bought these beautiful plots amid prickly pear and Live Oak trees deep in the heart of Texas. If things go accordingly, when my existence is no more than a dusty residue, my work and connections will have been the better for my commitment to working backwards. Having the ultimate destination in mind is a–strangely comforting–help.

DSC01884Hopefully all who read this will live longer happier lives and can readily imbibe in the Don Julio and Malbec that my daughter will surely be serving a-plenty when the time comes. Glancing at all that is on my to do list, fingers crossed that it’s a few decades away.