How my friend’s death taught me to GET UPPY

Today would have been the 70th birthday of my best friend’s Dad, who sadly ‘checked out’ suddenly in December. I thought a lot of Uncle Trev – as the name would suggest, he was like family to me, and we always got on incredibly well…I think largely because we both shared similar values, the most prominent of which was our love for fucking around! His death was a complete shock, as far as we were all concerned he was one of those stubborn old bastards who would probably live for ever, but even though we felt he was taken too soon we realised that he had indeed gone out on a high.

While the funeral was of course a sad day, the edge was definitely taken off by the huge number of people who came to pay their respects – what an honour I thought, to know a man who was held in such high regard by so many. As I sat and listened to everyone’s stories and memories of Uncle Trev my sadness started to turn into joy – what an incredible life he’d lived and what amazing people he’d had around him. I took two very important learnings away with me that day, ones I know that if I employ consistently in my own life will ensure I live an Uppy life and go out on a high too.

And so I’d like to share those learnings with you today…but please only read on if you’re prepared to take action 🙂

1. Do everything you want to do when you want to do it

Now one thing we can say for sure is Uncle Trev left having nothing remaining on his bucket list. He had a classic ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality and it was well worth it as he did everything he wanted to do…and had a bloody good time doing it! Of course he understood that logistically and/or financially it may not have been possible to do everything he wanted at the exact moment he wanted to do it, but rather than allowing his ideas and desires to disappear into the black hole of ‘ifs’ and ‘whens’ he simply put a plan into action to figure out what he needed to do to make it happen, and then (most importantly), he did it!

Action: I want you to have a think about all the things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet. Write them down, and beside each one note the reason that you haven’t done them. If you’ve realised that you just don’t want to do it anymore – that’s fine, scrub it off – but if that desire is still there and you’re simply being held back by something that could be overcome (and let’s face it, almost all things can be) then I want you to write a list of all the steps that would need to occur in order for this thing to happen.

I ask you to challenge yourself and your thinking here – I’m willing to bet that almost all of the barriers that come up will be driven by fear. It may, for example, be fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being liked or maybe fear of the unknown. Only you can know which fear it is but it’s your job to figure it out. Then I want you to stare that fear right in the face, thank it for showing up because you know it’s just trying to keep you safe, and then politely ask it to move along because you don’t need it right now and you’re off to get shit done!

2. Surround yourself with good people and look after them

The common theme running through the stories coming from the 300+ people who attended Uncle Trev’s funeral was that he was a great friend and would do anything to help any of them out. He always made his friends a priority and always made time to build and nurture quality relationships. I believe this is the real key to an Uppy life. Real connections give you something that nothing else can – a sense of belonging, worth, value, appreciation, contribution, compassion, empathy…I could go on. Real friends pick us up when we’re down, celebrate with us when we win, call us out on our shit, help us keep our feet on the ground and allow us to be our true selves. That’s pretty special, and something to hold on to at all costs.

Action: Identify who the truly important people are in your life and make a plan to ensure you are the best friend you can possibly be to them. This will probably be a little different for each person, as everyone has different expectations and needs, so have a chat with them and share with each other what being a good friend means. That way there’s no need for second guessing and you can simply get on with creating memories together and letting the good times roll.

Now go forth and GET YOUR UPPY OUT people!

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