Life, Soul Homework, Writing

Five Questions

I first learned about BJ Miller when I watched the documentary short End Game on Netflix a few years ago.

It’s a beautiful documentary that challenges how we consider death and dying. BJ Miller is a very remarkable person. If you don’t know who he is, definitely click on the links provided here.

His Ted talk, What really matters at the end of life, is a good place to start.

Visit his Zen Hospice Project to learn more about his incredible efforts on changing the way we consider dying.

Sorry for the blurry screenshot.

I witnessed a Twitter exchange with BJ Miller few months back that featured five questions. I wish I could give credit to someone for the questions, but when I went back to Twitter to find out who I took the screenshot from, I couldn’t find it. Just keep in mind that the graphic is not mine.

I think the questions are straightforward yet meaningful. I appreciated the honesty in his responses, and it motivated me to keep the screenshot for a future post. Then I thought you might want to consider your responses too.

Photo by Huy Phan on

What makes you come alive?

Any type of creativity. Whether it’s writing, dancing to music, decorating, taking care of my plants, or repurposing things around the house.

Pivotal turning point in your life?

Menopause. I’m considerably stronger now than I was during perimenopause, which has given me the confidence to work on myself. As a result, I’m far more emotionally mature than I used to be.

An act of kindness you’ll never forget?

My friend Kristen giving up one day a week for four months to help me with my book.

Photo by Nate on

One thing on your bucket list?

I’d like to eat at Alinea in Chicago.

One-line message for the world?

Don’t take anything personally.

What would your responses be?

19 thoughts on “Five Questions”

  1. Aliena is on my wishlist too. My friend introduced me to the series Chef’s Table on Netflix and that’s how I found it. I don’t watch the series any more, but Jesse and I have a couple of wishlist places to try.

    I like these questions…I might have to sit with them a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh! What great questions (and speaking of end of life care did you ever read the nonfiction book Driving Miss Norma? A man and his wife decide to take care of his mother for the last year of hear life taking her on the road with them– it was such a sweet story and really looked at quality of life over quantity of life). One thing on my bucket list is to go to Hawaii.. as much as I dread the thought of that long plane ride I really want to see Hawaii in person. My one line message would be a simple Always Choose Kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never heard of the book before, but now I have to add it to my TBR list! Thank you for the suggestion!

      I’d like to visit Hawaii too, but I’d like to visit the islands that aren’t overrun with tourists. I don’t know much about Hawaii, so I’d have to research that ahead of time.

      Always choose kindness is a wonderful message.


  3. Very good questions (and I loved your answers! I may steal this for a post of my own (odds are good I won’t because I’ll forget!)

    I also like @Rawsonjl’s one line message – it’s on we should all strive for. I would add, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…it’s ALL small stuff.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 1) culture…movies, books, museums. Though I get my best ideas at the botanic garden
    2) pregnant at 36. Complete game changer for me because I went in a direction I never thought I would
    3) we were on line at a store in the mall. My mother in law was trying to get me to do something her way. She said to the person behind us “shouldn’t they listen to me because I’m the mother” to which the woman replied “no. I think they hav3 every right to do what they want” to me this woman was my hero
    4) Venice
    5) remember the past, prepare for the future, live in the present

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What makes you come alive – cheering for my kids when they play sports (well, sometimes my family would rather I not come so alive that I get a little nutty), or a really good laugh

    Pivotal turning point – falling in love with Coach and having kids

    An act of kindness you’ll never forget – the couple that paid for dinner for my brother and I when we were students in Munich

    Bucket list – crap, I’m pretty much a ‘get thru today’ type, hmm . . . travel to Europe someday with Coach

    One line message for the world – don’t sweat the small stuff

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post. The clip of End Game was riveting for me; I must watch it. I used to be so afraid of death for myself and my people, but watching my Mom suffer as she did and then when I had to make the decision about hospice, it wasn’t that hard after all. It was the best option and I felt good about it knowing SHE would have done the same thing.

    What makes me come alive? Much like you, it’s creativity. And nature. My butterflies. But also, my people. Having them around me feeling happy and healthy is THE best feeling ever.

    I think my pivotal turning point came a few years ago when I realized that my life is my own and I shouldn’t feel bad for my good fortune or my choices that led to good things. I had a lot of fo guilt over having a good life for a long time.

    The act of kindness one is stumping me. I have a few in mind, but can’t think of ONE that is the best to share.

    Bucket list: Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. It’s where the monarchs congregate before or after their migration. Kelly and I started planning a trip there a few years ago and Coach swayed me away because it isn’t the safest place to travel to/around. 😦 I was disappointed, but in the end, he was right to be nervous about it.

    Be honest and kind towards every soul you meet.

    Think of how nice the world would be if all followed that mantra?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you should definitely watch it.

      AMEN TO NOT FEELING GUILTY. I’m curious if your guilt stemmed from your childhood? I’m so glad you’re no longer burdened by guilt.

      I love that you have many acts of kindness to consider. That is such good news.

      I love that mantra, and yes, wouldn’t that be nice? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Doesn’t everything stem from our childhood? Well for me it does. Yes, I feel guilty having an ‘ideal’ life whereas my Mother never did. Nor did my Dad. But honestly, they made their choices, but it took me many, many years to grasp that.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Deep questions!

    What makes you come alive?

    Being out in nature; being with my women’s circle; listening to moving music; being immersed in one of my creative endeavors…writing, photography, art journaling, gardening, decorating something in my house.

    Pivotal turning point in my life…

    Having children. Flying solo to England. My oldest son passing away in 2009.

    An act of kindness you’ll never forget?

    There’s so many. I am blessed. One that immediately comes to mind was when Phil passed away, a family friend sent us cards often for over a year, just letting us know she was thinking of us. You know how they say the grief really sets in after the funeral when everyone goes back to their own lives and then you’re “alone”? Knowing this woman was thinking about us all the time and took the time to send cards for so long after the funeral meant the world to us.

    One thing on your bucket list?

    Traveling! Always wanted to see Colorado, New Mexico, and travel the entire west coast. Going back to England (or France – our friends who live there have a house in each country) with Brian this time! Funny thing is, I’m such a homebody and get very nervous leaving home, even just going away for a weekend trip. So go figure.

    One line message for the world?

    Love one another.

    Liked by 1 person

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