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I've been seeing a lot of folks this past week getting ready for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as aspiring authors like to call it. NaNoWriMo is an ambitious endeavor. 50,000 words in 30 days. That is roughly 1,667 words per day.
I've also seen a couple other takes on NaNoWriMo, such as what Ben Brooks is doing. Ben isn't planning to write a novel, but he is taking on the challenge of writing 50,000 words on his site. Equally ambitious, if you ask me.
I was thinking this morning about Ben's take on the NaNoWriMo challenge and a challenge that I have done each November for the past few years. While I don't write anywhere near the amount each day in November to get to 50,000 words, I do write each of the 30 days.
A few years ago, my friend Shaun Jones (sorry, he doesn't have a website) introduced me to the idea of Thanksvember. Simply record something you are thankful for each day of November. Some days I write a sentence, some days paragraphs. I record all of it in my beloved Day One. Sometimes I share an entry with others, but often I keep it to myself.
I think the great thing about doing some kind of writing each day in November is not so much about the quantity — heck, even the quality — but rather the consistency. Taking November to write daily is a great way to start the habit of writing. It's so easy to have the desire to write but to allow yourself to be blocked to actual put words to paper or pixel.
Whether you are writing the next great novel this month or simply being thankful for something each day, be sure to write.
I'm not one who particularly enjoys traveling. Let me clarify, I enjoy my destination, but I am not fond of the process of travel. This sense of blah increases by an order of magnitude when it comes to air travel.
This past week I traveled to Toronto for work. Also my first trip to Canada. I was prepared to have to use paper boarding passes as it is an international flight. Passbook has only worked for me on domestic flights in the past. But to my surprise and delight, United's app allowed me to check-in in advance, and take a photo of my passport for verification. And then I saw those three glorious words: Add to Passbook.
What's even better is that the boarding passes were also available on my Apple Watch. For departure, I entered the airport, skipped United's desk, and walked straight to the security checkpoint. The agents scanned the barcode off my Apple Watch for my boarding pass, examined my passport, gave me the customary greeting of a patdown, and I was on my way.
Upon arrival in Toronto, I took a quick train to the station nearest my hotel. I was within walking distance, so I opened Maps on my watch, spoke the name of the hotel, tapped walking directions, and felt like I wasn't a complete foreigner as I turned when he watch subtly tapped my wrist in its left/right sequences. It worked perfectly, and I never had to take my phone out of my pocket.
Finally, Canada has been a bit more civilized in regard to payments for some time now. NFC is present just about everywhere. Using my Apple Watch to pay with Apple Pay just worked. Also, it was kind of fun to see the slight jealousy of Canadians when they realized I used Apple Pay, as it is not yet available in the Great White North.
As time goes on, I am finding the greatest thing about aw is the convenience it brings to my life. It is still by far not a necessity, as my iPhone can do just about everything the Watch can, but having the essentials of what I need available to me quickly and easily is terrific.
I recently linked to Eulogy, written by Matt Gemmell, in which he discusses telling those that impact you of what effect they've had on you before they've died. We store up all these lovely memories and feelings and the person who inspired that in us rarely gets to hear it.
Reflecting upon Eulogy, I began to think about something said at the last Deacon's meeting at my church. Let me introduce you to JL Schmidt. JL is a career writer, having spent much of his life thus far in journalism. He's one of those classic newspaper guys who seen and written about pretty much everything. He also leads our small band of Deacons in serving the people of our church.
During part of our meeting he issued a question and a challenge.
"Gentlemen, what's your legacy? If you want to find out, write your own obituary."
The idea seems a bit self-serving at first. But as he explained himself it became quite apparent the intent is to be other-serving.
JL's thoughts on writing your own obituary are quite similar to Matt's thoughts on eulogizing those you care about before they die. Often, this summary of your life is left until you've passed, and it is likely cobbled together by a fledgling journalist climbing the ranks, who likely never knew you. All they have to work with are some meager facts provided by those who have survived you. Your obituary, if done in this fashion, likely will not summarize your life accurately.
Write your own obituary now. Then, and this is the important part, read it. Now examine it. Is that accurate? If so, is it the legacy you want to leave behind? If someone else read it, would what is written match up with the person they know? Is there anything you think you need to change in your life? What do you want your obituary to say, and how can you start to make that happen?
You see, by writing your obituary you have a chance to see whether or not you are wasting your precious time on this earth. If you were to die in the not-too-distant future, would you be known for the ideal version of yourself you want to be known for?
By asking yourself these questions and reflecting upon them, you can then begin to change who your are now to who you want to be remembered as.
I personally want to be remembered as someone who served others selflessly, without hesitation. I have a long way to go on that as I've done a fair share of self-serving these past 30 years. But now that I know what kind of person I hope to be remembered as, I can begin to cultivate that person inside me.
What do you want your legacy to be?
This video of a drone flying through a fireworks display is beautiful. Setting it to an aria for music adds a nice touch.
Have a happy Independence Day. Stay safe and have fun.