When a resident of Austin learned that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, he decided to write his own obituary and share the most important things he learned in life.

I consider myself a totally cheesy person, and before diving into this tear-jerker, I have to share a famous quote which various people take credit for, but is most famously attributed to Elbert Hubbard.

Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.

Lonnie Dillard, a Texan native, and most recently an Austin resident, passed away on December 18 after learning of a diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer on November 11.

While most obituaries celebrate the life and accomplishments of the deceased, Dillard took another route. Before Dillard passed, he decided to reflect and wrote down some of life's biggest lessons to pass on in his obituary.

There is no one more you than you. You do have something unique to offer your piece of the world. Damn convention or the critics. Take a chance! -Lonnie Dillard


  1. "A mother's unwavering love can turn a very ordinary little boy into an extra-ordinary man, if only in his own mind. "
  2. "Making and keeping friends, like tending a garden, requires attention and effort. Yet doing so yields greater returns than anything else you will ever do."
  3. "As Buddhists say: Be kind; everyone you meet is traveling a difficult journey. There is no substitute for a good deed; but simply helping a stranger laugh or smile can lighten a load, too."
  4. "If your word is no good, chances are very good, you are not either. "
  5. "Having money is always better than NOT having money. But beyond basic needs and a few luxuries, money is not a requirement for happiness. Enough really is enough; greed can hollow out the heart, even topple civilizations. "
  6. "Time spent learning---anything---is never time wasted."
  7. "Waste is a sin. Do not "save things for nice." Not the new guest room towels, the good crystal that will surely chip with everyday use, nor that ridiculously expensive jacket you bought on a lark in Florence. "Nice" may never happen; life is lived now. "
  8. "Travel is dangerous! If you are not careful, you could find yourself questioning whether your culture, country, or religion really does have a monopoly on all the right answers."
  9. "Happiness is not the result of what does or does not happen to you in your life as much as your attitude about what does or does not happen. It's a decision you make. Every day. They say that it is always better to have ten items on a list than only nine. I say trying to do everything "they" say can snuff out whatever genius you have in you, as well as make you miserable in the process. There is no one more you than you. You do have something unique to offer your piece of the world. Damn convention or the critics. Take a chance! Unfortunately, I did not know all these lessons all my life; some I paid very dearly to learn. Or re-learn. But I do know that if I could live my life over, I would want these as a starter kit."

I never had the opportunity to meet Dillard, but I'm thankful for the words he left behind. To sacrifice his last moments to pen his own obituary and share such a wealth of knowledge leads me to believe that Dillard was truly a kind and selfless man.

It's so hard to live in the present with so many things pulling us in every which direction. That's why it's so important to remember not to take any moment for granted, because life keeps going until it doesn't.

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