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Write your own eulogy

This time round I have taken my time to think hard about the whole new years resolution thing. Most years I hear people (including myself) making the same kind of resolutions over and over again. Lose weight. Quit smoking. Be more healthy. Exercise more. Spend less money.

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When you look at the above targets they are all good things to do. Losing weight will help ward off diabetes, high blood pressure and help us to live longer. Ditto, quitting smoking. Being more healthy could be a whole manner of things but for argument’s sake let’s say it’s eating better quality food and less crap. That’s a good thing too for our health. Ditto exercising more. Spending less money is positive if you are in debt and have no money.

Are you wondering where this is going? Well, at my dads funeral his best friend and my brother gave a eulogy (Oxford dictionary : A speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died). At the wake afterwards several people came over to myself to say that what they really took from the half hour talk was that whilst Dad had a great career, at times had wealth and at others was down to his last pennies, a big house and a nice car, essentially he was a family man who adored his children and grandchildren. He was devoted to us. Each night he prayed for us to have happy and healthy lives. He gave advice but only when we went to him and asked for it (apart from back seat driving). He was often a spectator rather than an extrovert but would spend time with anyone who sat with him teaching them some of the many things that he knew about. Family came first throughout his life and we (his children) are his legacy. Dad had a huge amount of hobbies and these became more important than ever later in life as he slowed down. He had subscriptions to Leica magazine, National Geographic, Model Boats, RHS Gardens and several golfing magazines. He never stopped learning about the hobbies that he loved and it gave him new conversation when we spoke to him. He always carried a book with him (“never waste time just sitting waiting”) and did not immerse himself with social media. He was calmer for this than I suspect many of our generation will be. I knew that if I ever had a problem, Dad would (and often did) drop everything to be there for me. I couldn’t have wished for a more kind, loving and caring father.

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I’ve had a long think about life since Dad died and about how I would like my eulogy to read. He has inspired me to be a better person. I’m starting small and this year simply addressing the daily stuff rather than a big life change. Here is what I know so far. No-one is going to remember me for going sugar free this January, completing a successful green juice detox (this is happening next week) or running more. My house could be cleaner, more tidy and orderly but I have three children under five and deep down I like the fact that they scoot through the house and build dens out of sofa cushions. I have been fighting a losing battle trying to maintain order in this wonderful little family and causing unneccessary stress on us all, it simply does not matter. Give it five years and they will no doubt be retreating to their rooms attempting to sleep most of the time and chat to their friends.

I have decided on resolutions for 2015.

Clean up less – No-one cares whether my kitchen is pristine and shiny. I would love to be more tidy but I’m going to let it go and spend more time playing with my kids. When you come round to my house be prepared for a rustic look.

Say hello to people in the street – I started this in December. Dad was so lucky to have four children but many old people can often go for days without any contact apart from strangers. So far, most people look weirdly at me and others look confused. There are also people who have been overjoyed to speak to me and they have stopped to talk to the children as well (kids are such a good ice breaker).

CTFD – I love the daddy complex. 2014 was so stressful with dad being ill and this rubbed off on the family. I want to be calmer and stop and listen more.

Simplify my life – I’m going to get rid of some stuff, seriously streamline the house and focus on being present in the family rather than material things. The best discovery of the week is the Minimalists , these are two (very easy on the eye) guys who have stripped back their lives and written lots of fabulous articles about it. I love their theories, especially the 20/20 rule. “The rule says that if you throw something away and later need it, most items can be replaced for less than £20 in less than 20 minutes.”

Create memories  – We have to work and routine is a big part of our daily lives but the things we remember most are the breaks from routine. All too often at the weekend my family goes to the local skatepark or the beach. These are enjoyable activities but the memories of them can often blur into each other over the year. I’m going to explore new parks and different areas of the coastal stretch. Christmas day lunch on the beach was a good example of something different, I won’t forget it. Had we stayed at home I wouldn’t have remembered it in a few years time. Next year we are going to BBQ the turkey which will be different and no doubt amusing.

So that’s it. Start small, stick with it and that eulogy will read well.

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