Happiness in Progress

Lessons About Life Learned From Death

Chris Meyer is sharing lessons about life he learned through a unique experience in funeral homes. Chris is the author of several books including Life in 20 Lessons: What a Funeral Guy Discovered About Life From Death.

He also created www.funandmoving.com, the world’s largest low-impact exercise and rehab platform for people just starting out in their exercise journey.

In Chris’ book, he outlines 20 different lessons he learned as funeral director.

Most Important Life Lesson?

Of course, I had to know which of the 20 lessons spoke closest to Chris himself.

Chris started out with the lesson – and term he coined – to be a Familionaire. In short, this means to be someone who is rich in family.

Chris shared this has always been an important part of his life – instilled by his own family, including his grandfather who showed up to every single baseball game (so much so that the whole team noticed!).

But the daily reminder from the funeral home helps him keep his family front and center.

“The funeral home has given me the greatest gifts of just -hey smack you upside the head, take your time, enjoy,” Chris shared.

#191 Lessons About Life Learned From Death feat. Chris Meyer | Happiness in Progress podcast

Life is Short

You may have guessed this would be one of the lessons, but when you’re surrounded by unsurmountable grief and death each day – it’s hard to walk away from that experience without this lesson.

In fact, as a reporter, experiencing horrible things, I brought this message home with me often.

As Chris and I talked about how quickly life changed, he said, “It changes and it can change on a dime. I see it everyday. Whether it’s a young man in a motorcycle accident, whether it’s a baby from SIDS. It changes on a dime.”

Hear how kindness is so important and how Chris lost $7,000 out of an act of kindness – all on the podcast, here.

Enjoy Epic Shit Today

*Don’t worry, if you listen to the podcast with kids around – no swear words make it into the podcast 😉 *

Because life is so short. Because it’s out of our hands how long we get to live, Chris writes to ‘Enjoy Epic Shit Today’ as one of his top 20 lessons about life.

He encourages us to change our paths. He emphasizes, if we aren’t having fun – to move and do something fun.

“So many of us, we’re trying to keep up with the Joneses. How do I fit into it? If you can step up that rabbit trail of life and just do you and your family, I think it’s so much better,” Chris told me during the podcast episode.

He explains how we make something so simple, so complex.

He offers another piece of advice by asking, “Who’s going to be there on your deathbed?” He quickly adds, “Those are the people you want to spend your life with.”

I love this advice in the age of social media. It is really easy to spend our days and our time with people who won’t be there on our deathbed. It’s easy to get wrapped up into the social media world… of people we don’t know and expectations we can’t reach.

who's going to be there on your deathbed

Grateful for the Little Things

In Chris’ book, he writes about how in the funeral industry you either need to start drinking at 10:30 a.m. or be grateful. I asked him how being grateful can take the edge off or chase away the demons.

He said it’s all about being present, having gratitude and being understanding.

He says it’s very important to focus on the smaller moments as we count our blessings.

“In life we’re thinking about achievements, money, possessions equal happiness. And that’s just probably a great lesson from the funeral industry, is that you can’t take take it with you. You can try. I’ve put a lot of funny things in a casket, but you can’t take it with you. I want to defer on the here and now,” Chris said.

Chris says being grateful for him is very easy. He shares he’s grateful for the little things and that his gratitude is not possession based.

photo of Chris Meyer

So Much More

We talk about so much more on the podcast including:

  • what he learned about race early on in his career
  • how kindness can make all the difference
  • how he lost $7000 as a result of being kind – and whether he’d do it again

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