After years of battling crippling depression and suicidal ideation, I’m finally learning what it means to me to choose life. Where I come from, a good death is something to earn, and earning a good death is a birthright. So I’ve come up with a short list of my own personal pathways to this elusive birthright:

You might earn a good death by:

  1. Respecting the time you’re given.
  2. Fighting for each day as if it were your last.
  3. Using the talents and intention you were given to serve with a burning fire tempered by patience and humility.
  4. Expect nothing.
  5. Follow your heart.
  6. Make difficult choices.
  7. Never give up.
  8. Live like a soldier… A warrior for peace.
  9. Forgive even when you’re unforgiven.
  10. Play your part in building the future, however big or small.
  11. Know that your time here is limited.
  12. Claim that “trouble don’t last always.”
  13. Dig in. Teach others how to do the same.
  14. Teach others to respect themselves.
  15. Practice laughter and gentleness fervently.
  16. Don’t over simplify.
  17. Be “available” to the nooks and crannies of experience.
  18. Own it all.
  19. Say yes!
  20. Live by the creed “won’t bow down, don’t know how.”
  21. Don’t get got. Get grown instead.
  22. Hopelessness has no more value than hope. Abandon both.
  23. Chop the wood and carry the water.
  24. Learn to be still.
  25. Be gracious when death comes, but don’t invite it.
  26. Do your duty. Earn your traveling shoes.