Hell No, I Don’t Want To Live Another 70 Years!

When our financial counselor told me he expected me to live to be 90, I told him I expected to live to 78! My father died at 61, and my mother died at 88. I believe I can beat the law of averages by three years!

Our son, Brett, asked me to officiate his and his wife, Abby, wedding on December 31, 2021. I was honored, and it is one of the highlights of my life. I have asked him to return the favor by officiating my memorial (I’ve written out) at an Asheville, NC craft brewery. Everyone who attends will get a ticket for a beer or glass of wine!

Besides writing out my memorial service, I’ve also written my obituary. It is as follows:

I was born on October 23, 1953, to incredible loving parents, John and Joyce. I share my birthday with several famous people including:

My purpose in life has been to create safe, nurturing, inclusive communities.

The operating system I have tried to live by and hold myself accountable to is from Micah 6:8

  • compassion
  • justice
  • humility

Besides being called David… I’ve also been called:

  • Charlie Brown
  • Austin
  • The Tidy Bowl Man
  • The Corporate Onion Peeler
  • Dad
  • Granddad
  • Leever

I have been a…

  • A collaborator in God’s creation and I pray well with others of different faiths, including atheists
  • an Eagle Scout
  • an artist, a jeweler, a window washer, a newspaper columnist,
  • Experience-based facilitator in organizational and leadership development, leadership coach
  • author of 3 books – What’s On Your Rear End?, 65 at 65, David Carr By The Numbers
  • ordained minister of the Universal Life Church
  • Grandfather to Zander, Lily, and Everett
  • AND I am most proud of being a partner to Terri and a father to Erin and Brett

Here are just a few of the people who made a memorable difference in my life:

  • Larry Lemser, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 516, Centerville, OH, inspired me to become an Eagle Scout and always reminded me to leave the campsite, people, and places better than I found them.
  • Mrs. Schreiber, my high school Latin teacher, taught me continuous practice was part of a life well-lived.
  • DePauw University Anthropology Professor Robert Fornaro, taught me the value of critical thinking. Questions are more important than answers. Questions reveal curiosity. Answers reveal judgment.
  • My sister-in-law, Kathy Sumner, showed me not to fear death.
  • Bob Schellenberg, reminded me not to wait until someone close to me dies to get together.
  • Lee Reading, gave me my dream job at Camp Joy and helped me overcome my fear of heights!
  • Lyne Watts made me aware of the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in my life and challenged me to do something about it!
  • My Westminster, Dayton, OH, men’s small group of 28 years, my band of brothers from different mothers who have each other’s backs.
  • My son, Brett told his mother and me, “You raised me right!”
  • Terri Carr, who made me feel worthy after a failed marriage and loved me even though I drove a station wagon whose scent was cherry urinal blocks 45 years ago!

Five books that changed my life and might change yours:

Here are a few valuable lessons I’ve learned and wish to share…

  1. It’s okay to feel weird about being the same age as old people.
  2. Life is good when you stop trying to be young and thin!
  3. The best things in life are rescued.
  4. Let a dog share your bed. You will live longer!
  5. Bacon will keep you from being a vegetarian.
  6. Gluten is not a crime.
  7. Golf is something you do with your hands while you talk. Sipping a good bourbon will not only do the same thing, but there are no bad shots, missed putts, lost balls, or yelling “FORE” at the top of your lungs!
  8. Sipping good bourbon is a form of yoga!
  9. Learn to sail. Sailing has taught me more about life than any job, hobby, or sport.
  10. You are the five people you are closest to. Choose wisely.
  11. You are what you watch, look at, read, think, eat, and drink. Be mindful.
  12. Whatever you do, give 100% unless it’s blood.
  13. Vote or be ruled.
  14. It’s a fact: vaccines have been safe and effective since 1796. Get vaccinated, not for yourself, but for your neighbor.
  15. Stop trying to be everyone’s cup of tea and focus on being a few people’s shot of tequila.
  16. The answer to “Can people really be that stupid?” is always yes.
  17. The true, real seven wonders of the world are: to see, hear, touch, taste, feel, laugh, and love.
  18. Say, “I love you!” to those you care about, beginning with yourself with all your warts, scars, mistakes, failures, and imperfections.

I have lived an incredible and blessed life! What has made my life incredible has been Terri Carr. I thank her! I am blessed to have shared a major part of life with her. She has helped make me a better version of myself than when she met me!

In lieu of flowers, please spend money on building bridges with others, creating longer tables that include more people who don’t look or think like you, and doing an act of kindness for some troubled soul. Please write your Congress person and tell them to do away with Daylight Savings Time and get back to real-time.

Comments from readers:

Austin, I love it!! I really didn’t want to read it because it gave me the heebee jeebies, but so glad I did. Once I started I couldn’t stop! I love it all and the warts comment made me laugh out loud! I loved your comment about Burbie! C.H.

So here comes the usual response…is your health okay?  Is your Spirit okay? D.B.

I hope you live long enough to add more grandchildren to that list, to author another book, to find more books you want to recommend, to fall in love even more deeply with life and others and to not have any expectation as to how long you will live. J.W

Everyone manages face the thoughts of their own deaths in their own way, as you are doing. I hope that you don’t set an expiration date for yourself, but live until you die, instead of until you expect to. G.D.

At some point I’m going to respond.  Like what you’re doing. M.A

Brilliant! T.B.

Thank you for sending your thoughts and wishes for your obituary. I have read it many times and still cry each time. It kind of took my breath away when I saw Bob’s name and the message was so true and heartwarming. You are such a great writer. I also laughed at some of your valuable lessons. S.S.

This was fun to read. Your zest for life is inspiring to me. Thank you. I’m glad to have you-and your perspective-in my life. B.M.

Happy birthday Mr. Carr. I loved learning more about you before you leave this world. But the bourbon part I already knew, as did most everyone. Stay golden! D.D.

David, you are a very interesting fella! I cannot believe we are so far apart philosophically/spiritually, yet kindred spirits of sorts when nurturing communities. Congratulations to Brett! D.J.

Soulfully Strong People: 7 Things They Do Well*

Having coached leaders and worked with many teams, the most obvious work needed to overcome is dysfunctionality! This is the work of the soul. It’s that fourth edge of the saw we need to keep sharp. It’s part of the 7th habit of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which Covey refers to as spirituality. It’s the core of emotional intelligence. Our psychological and social well-being are connected to the spiritual. In keeping with Covey’s seven themes, here are my observations of seven things soulfully strong people do well.

1.) They know themselves and accept themselves just as they are including their imperfections. They know they are a bundle of habits, some good some not so good. They acknowledge their weaknesses and let it go. They focus on their strengths, seeking to grow them and live into them. Their strengths are their gifts. They know that to “love their neighbor just as yourself,” they really do have to love themselves! Thus, they have skin in the game of life. They avoid comparing themselves to others and don’t live in wishful thinking. They live into an affair of the heart.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”     – Buddha

2.) While they know themselves, they also are able to forgive themselves. They recognize shame as “I’m not worthy,” and recognize they are worthy even with warts, scars, and imperfections. They see themselves as a work in progress, making mistakes as part of life’s journey, not taking themselves too seriously, forgiving themselves, and asking for forgiveness. By living with this, they are able to forgive others. Thus, they laugh more especially at themselves, and experience the “thin spaces” more fully.

3.) They don’t take things personally. They recognize there is another side to the story that they don’t know. They question the ugly story they begin to create. They avoid climbing the ladder of inference. They recognize what they can control and what they cannot control. They don’t try to change or control other people. Their expectations are realistic, they grow their wisdom and they seek to live in truth.

4.) They work at connecting with others and accepting others just as they are. They suspend judgment and extend curiosity towards others. They know even the least of us is worthy of connection. They live string theory. To-do lists are not nearly as important as to-be lists. To-do is about success. To-be is about significance. They find more joy in being than doing. Being connects back to their purpose in life, to make connections and build bridges.

5.) They live in the now. They work on being mindful and fully present. They acknowledge the past has lessons. The failures of the past are lessons learned. They recognize that who they are at this moment is because of where they have been. The past cannot be changed nor should it be changed. The past is what it is. The future is yet to be determined. No one knows what in is the future.

6.) Gratitude is a state of mind for the soulfully strong. They acknowledge their blessings including the blessing of pain and suffering that has revealed its gifts. They know pain is inevitable but misery is optional. Consequently, their gratitude becomes the font of their happiness. Thanksgiving is a daily occurrence rather than once a year.

7.) They love more and consume less. They recognize love as the greatest force on earth and the arch-rival of fear. Their courage is girded by love. As darkness is the absence of light, as cold is the absence of heat, fear is the absence of love. Thus, their biggest battle is overcoming fear in themselves and helping others to battle their fears.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to increase my workouts…soul workouts!

*Originally published November 2013 and updated.