How strange that I should share my obituary when I am very much alive and well, but there you go. Happy New year! I wrote this little ditty in a flash non-fiction course with Christi Craig as a silly play on form. I later attempted to fictionalize it simply by changing the name of the character, but realized that this was indeed always about me, or rather, my perception of myself. So I’m keeping it real. Perhaps you can relate?
And I’m sharing it on January 1st as a reminder to myself to take some ACTION this year.
SEEK - DISCOVER - ACT (am I allowed three words?)
Lest my obituary reads as follows:
A Case of Death by Dithering.
Ms. M. Schultz shall be remembered as an unequivocal ditherer. She was loved by all because she made no enemies. She made no enemies because she steered clear of conflict. Conflict for Ms. Schultz was uncomfortable, so instead, she built a lovely little life on the fence, waving to friends on both sides, never straying too far, if she strayed at all.
She felt certain she was destined for greatness, though sadly, could never decide where to channel this distinction, and thus found herself harnessed to mediocrity more often than not. She spent a good portion of each day blaming her mediocrity on outside forces: the internet bore much of the brunt, followed by her children and their incessant need for food, and a husband who preferred his laundry hung to dry.
Often, when Ms. Schultz would sit down to contemplate her favorite poet’s question about what she ought to do with her one wild and precious life, she would remember the onions caramelizing on the stove that needed stirring lest they char in the split second between perfection and ruin. She lived in those split seconds, and so she never got around to finding the answer.
Until finally, she stopped asking.
“I am who I am,” she told herself, sounding very much like the Buddha, she thought. Because she vaguely recalled the Buddha talk of suffering, and sometimes - in the way only privileged people can do - she confused her dithering for suffering.
It wasn’t that she lacked confidence. She simply lacked the get-up-and-go-ness that she so admired in others. Or the stick-to-itive-ness that she envied in friends who had already seized their dreams. This is perhaps why - when cleaning out her things - they found seventeen journals on her shelf, each filled with ten or fifteen pages of handwritten brilliance, the remaining pages blank.
She could often be heard quoting her late grandfather’s favorite line: “Shit or get off the pot.” But oddly enough, though she encouraged others with this axiom, she herself did neither. Instead, she sat on the pot much like a toddler, twiddling her thumbs and finding endless distraction from the proverbial (shit)storm brewing inside her.
The problem, she wrote in one of her last diary entries, was one of too many passions from which to choose. She was a helper, to be sure, but whom should she help? The paradox of choice afforded ample time for contemplation but left her little desire to pick something and run with it, knowing herself as she did, and her penchant for second-guessing and her fear of failure.
In the end, the coroner reported a case of death by dithering. The autopsy concluded she stubbed her toe on the fence, which caused an acute infection that eventually spread to her bowel. Her shit literally killed her
Happy new year friends! Here’s to a year of getting off the pot and making cool things happen. What do you plan to make happen this year? (say it out loud, make it real, keeps us accountable!)
As do vision boards! You can see my 2019 board above. If I have enough interest, I’d love to run another vision board retreat. If you’re local, let me know if you’d come if I scheduled one!
No. More. Dithering.