How to Live Your Life—Backwards

Sunset on grassy beach


Few things will make you appreciate life more than writing a eulogy for someone you love. Last week, I was putting the finishing touches on a eulogy for my cousin, a prominent physician, husband, father, and grandfather. It was both hard—and healing. And, it was heart-breaking because it was a joint memorial service for him and his adult son, who passed four months later. The service had been delayed due to Covid.

Writing the eulogy allowed me to revisit a life dedicated to bringing healing to others. It reminded me that the best way to consciously make your life count may be to live it—backwards.

What am I talking about? I’m referring to how to maximize your life—while you’re living it—by starting with the end in mind. For a moment, imagine someone giving your eulogy. What will they say? What would you want them to say? Ponder that moment and then—live your life backwards. In other words, beginning today, why not make every major decision based on the things that matter most. Start living your life worthy of your eulogy. After all, it seems the easiest way to help someone write it in the future—is to live it today.

How do you do that? What adjustments must we make? What sacrifices? What priorities must we shift? What promises must we keep? Who must we “be there” for? What goals must we achieve, alter—or abandon? Several weeks ago, I realized a eulogy is actually a resume of our lives. How we’ve lived. So, it begs a question. How do we want to be remembered?


“Make major decisions in a cemetery.”

                                                                         Max Lucado


When we start with the end in mind—and mentally work backwards, we develop a mindset that will help us focus our time, talent, and energy on the life that will ultimately define us—and make our life truly worth living.

A famous author once said, “Make every major decision in a cemetery.” Sound strange? While it may not be practical, think about it for just a second. The author actually made a thought-provoking point. Making a major decision in a cemetery, prompts us to make it with the right motive, with an in-depth understanding of the implications, and most importantly, with the proper perspective—the long view—before the sun sets on our lives. 

By writing and delivering a eulogy last week for someone I loved and respected, I was reminded that sometimes the best way to move forward in life may be to live it—backwards. 


SOMETHING TO CHEW ON: What do you want to be remembered for? How does your life speak to it? 

Photo by Nicole Avagliano,


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