I write. Therefore, I research. But, my research and work always lead me back to one question: how do you want to be remembered?
My computer’s browsing history would freak out a few people—like the police, my in-laws and certain friends. My search history has some of the following searches:
- How to dispose of a handgun?
- What drugs are hard to trace if you want to kill someone?
- How much padding does it take to make a quiet room?
- How to kidnap an adult?
Not all of my searches are crazy. Sometimes I need cake recipes and such. But, so much of my work relies on research, I often find myself scouring the internet to make the stories I write believable. My family and friends know that I write so they expect some of the foolishness.
Then there is my phone call list, text messages, email and social media private (even public) messages.
Yesterday, I was about to comment on a Facebook post. It was kind of raunchy so me being the quick witted, human that I am thought of a snarky comment and began to type. Five words in I became convicted.
If You Died Right Now, What Would This Say About You?
That is the question that popped into my mind. I didn’t hit enter but that question stuck with me for the rest of the day.
How Do You Want to Be Remembered?
By nature, I’m a careful person. I am a firm believer in boundaries. So much so that a former client who could not get her way said that I was rigid and ran my business a certain way—organized and deliberate—because I’ve been hurt by my husband so many times.
In some regards, she is correct. But, not for the reasons she believes. I was rigid before starting Dorsey Group and way before marrying or even dating him.
My planners have been subpoenaed to court on behalf of my clients to support legal cases in arbitration and in court. My documentation and processes have helped my clients save thousands of dollars in court and in their perspective businesses.
Doing things right the first time has always been my way—academically, professionally and relationally. From where I sit, boundaries protect me and the people around me. If I receive a syllabus at school, the progress standards are stated so I can plan and assert myself to reach the end. In business, a scope of work identifies what is expected of me and my clients so we can govern ourselves accordingly.
In personal relationships, we are quick to dismiss the need for clear and concise boundaries.
What Do Boundaries Have to Do With Technology?
The internet has made our large world feel so much smaller. I no longer have to wait until my lunch break to call my best friend. I can call her on Skype while we’re working or keep my Facebook or Skype messenger open so that we can be connected all day. I can engage in a quick chat with my ex-boyfriend from college via text, email or messenger and no one has to know.
Except. Me. Him. God.
Since I was twelve years old, I have known how finite death is. When a person dies, they can’t hug you anymore. They can’t kiss you anymore. They can’t apologize for hurting you anymore.
But they can hurt you.
Think about all of the private conversations you’ve had with friends and relatives via text and instant messaging. What personal, private or hurtful things are you sharing with them that could hurt your spouse?What personal, private or hurtful things are you sharing with others that could hurt your spouse? Click To Tweet
Let’s go a little deeper. How about the joke you had with your co-worker Jake about how your husband sucks in bed so he might have to help you relieve some tension before you go home? Or, what about the flirty, sexy banter you engage in, all in fun, with a few hot ex-boyfriends?
What if you died.
What if your husband, who trusted you implicitly, picked up your phone to contact your loved ones and found out that you weren’t being who you promised you would be? What if he found out about you making plans to hook-up with one of his friends on your next business trip? What if he found out that while you were away at a conference, you went out to dinner with your ex-boyfriend? What if he found messages of you telling Jake how much you loved him and if how things were different you’d be together?
Just in case you lack empathy…
What if your husband died, who you trusted implicitly, and you picked up his phone to contact his loved ones only to find out that he had a life you knew nothing about. What if you found out that he made plans to hook up with one of your friends on his next business trip—the one he can’t make now because he is dead? What if you found out that while he was away at a conference, he went out to dinner with an ex-girlfriend? What if you found messages of him telling Jennifer how much he loved her and how if things were different he would be with her?
Either situation is hurtful.
Every day, adults make excuses about poor behavior in relationships. The problem is that we either don’t think we can be caught in our mess or will have an opportunity to explain our way out of it if we get caught. Sometimes death will catch us, leaving us unable to make things right with our loved ones.Sometimes death will catch us, leaving us unable to make things right with our loved ones. Click To Tweet
Instead of investing energy in negative or heartbreaking pursuits, consider being a comfort to your family in life and in death. When my family goes through my papers, journals, text messages and emails, I want to be the person who they knew—someone who loved them with all my might, never putting others before them.
The next time you engage, ask yourself, IS THIS MESSAGE I WANT MY CHILDREN, MY SPOUSE TO REMEMBER ME AS?
If the answer is no… Disengage. Disengage. Disengage.