Advice from an Obituary to Help You Look on the Bright Side

This was supposed to be a blog about if you should get an MBA, and how to do it. But when I googled “where to get a master’s degree” I came across a headline that mentioned a “hilarious obituary”. Sounds like an oxymoron, right?

The Huffington Post posted a link to the self-penned obituary of Val Patterson, who passed away on July 10 from throat cancer. His obituary does have its funny points (Patterson was banned for life from Disneyland as well as SeaWorld) and when describing his wife Mary to those “trying to decide if you knew me” he points out that she is a fitness instructor: “You might be one of her students- see what a lucky guy I am? Yeah, no kidding.”

But the best part is where Patterson confesses that his PhD is actually fake- he never even finished undergrad at the University of Utah but an administrative mistake when we went to pay his student loans resulted in a doctorate being sent out a few weeks later. Most of his friends, and his engineer colleagues, were none the wiser.

As you read the obituary (you can find it here) you can’t help but feel inspired by how much life Patterson squeezed into his short 59 years. His one regret is smoking the cigarettes that lead to his cancer, and even then, not because he had any unfinished business but because of the pain it caused his life. It’s such a joyful obituary (again, an oxymoron) for a seemingly ordinary guy.

Patterson wrote: “I enjoyed one good life. Traveled to every place on earth that I ever wanted to go. Had every job that I wanted to have. Learned all that I wanted to learn. Eaten everything I wanted to eat….I had a lot of fun. It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great people.”

What does this have to do with microlending? Absolutely nothing. But a little inspiration can do a lot of good. So as you sit down to think about starting your own business or worry about the next big step, take a moment to remember that life, even a seemingly ordinary one, is good.

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