Sunday, January 31, 2010


A few years ago I asked myself how I would want people to remember me after death.  I thought about how to phrase the question a bit and decided that I would restrict myself to two characteristics expressable by a single word.  After about a week or so I came to the conclusion that the two characteristics I wanted were


Over the next few years I asked a number of people to give me their own answers.  They regularly tried to wriggle out of it and use a bunch of words to express general 'good feelings' about themselves but when I forced them to condense it down to two single words it got a lot more interesting.  A lot of the first answers were "A good guy" and "Does the right thing" type responses, but here are samples of the good ones I got:

Family-Oriented (not strictly one word, but specific enough I allowed it in)

There were more, of course.  I found it riveting to watch people trying to summarize their aspirations, feelings and hopes in two simple words, particularly since people handled it so differently.  Some people, even those who seemed utterly secure in their livestyles and choices, flat out refused to give me answers at all.  I found it somewhat interesting that everyone was very polite and complimentary of other people's choices, save for one person.  Strangely it was my father who after hearing my choices tried to correct me and tell me that I should have chosen differently.  I say strangely because he is normally extremely tolerant of everyone else's choices and styles and unless someone is giving others grief he respects their right to do what they want.

Before you read further, please try to come up with your own words.  Don't just think about a bunch of topics and cheat either!  Write down two specific words and be sure that you are happy with your choices before proceeding.  Here is the second part of the question I also posed to each person.  Do you think that your current lifestyle and daily goals mesh up well with how you want to be remembered?  I think this is a very important point because people's lifestyles regularly do not match up particularly well with how they want to be remembered.  In many cases that I saw people who would say they wanted to be remembered as Generous (example) but who were desperately greedy and spent their money on conspicuous consumption on themselves.

Personally I feel like I am doing reasonably on my words.  I spend too much time playing games and too little reading philosophy to be maximizing my Wise, but I can't feel too bad considering my current Bible reading project.  Wise encompasses many other things including making useful longterm decisions and I feel like my current stay at home and think/write lifestyle is actually pretty good for Wise.  (Terrible for Make Money though)  Honourable is less about a state you can achieve and more about daily decision making and I am comfortable with how I sit there.  I am by no means perfect, but I feel like I act honourably in most circumstances.  I am not remotely convinced that people would actually answer Wise and Honourable if I were to die and this question were posed to them, but I hope at least that they would accept those answers as reasonable.

So here is the challenge dear reader:  Post your two words here in a comment.  If you have courage aplenty, also post if you think you are currently living the sort of life that would cause the people who know you to remember you as you want to be remembered.  If your answer is no, consider why that is so.


  1. The two words I would choose are


    As you said, choosing two words was tough but not as tough as I would have expected. Caring for me is a good friend/family member who tries to keep in touch and is empathetic of others. Intelligent for me is the ability to learn and pickup ideas as well as express those ideas coherently. I do think that I have done a decent job meeting these, but the true test would be if an observer felt that way.

    I sometimes feel that I should be doing more - reading/volunteering instead of playing Wow but as a guild leader I have learned some valuable lessons on leading people and being political that have spilled over to real life. Wow has pushed me to also read about and learn to play my paladin to the best of my ability. The only thing that Wow does not help me do is get the excercise for my body.

  2. Logical

    I don't think I'm living a life that will cause anyone to remember me for anything. Yes, I should probably do something to change that, but realistically I won't.