Life As An Epic Poem

Literary constructions

Epic poems like the Odyssey and movies like Star Wars are constructed in much the way your life is. Others get involved part way through the story. The key element is a literary technique know as “in media res.”  Literally ‘In the middle of things.”

Your life is always in media res. You can look back to the past to help explain the present and you can look ahead a little to estimate some present yet to come. The ability to conduct yourself well in this state is the key to success.

Why do the stories begin in media res?

Stories make more sense this way.

The observer understands the present and can gradually fit it into the history you. The future can be held out as a desirable possibility or an ominous problem.  Neither have occurred yet and there is no guarantee they will. The author has the ability to test emotional depths. The story is entertaining. Even compelling.

Most often, the story begins at a point of inflection or crisis.

Consider your life story

No one ever reaches a point where everything they are working on, or care about, is complete. People are always in the midst of events, plans, hopes, obligations and preferences.

Write the script for your story assuming a crisis point. It happens at the reception following your funeral.

The eulogies have been spoken and the conversation following is replete with life stories. Revisiting the past.

People all have an interesting narrative. Sometimes though, the narrative to date does not deal with options not taken, decisions poorly made or executed.

What about the future?

Did the deceased leave an estate that is adequate to cancel the obligations of the past and provide the wealth needed to execute the future? Many do not. Beginning with in media res, we can see the family remembering the deceased and coping with shortfalls.

Some shortfalls are the absence of leadership and companionship. These are difficult to provide for. Money, on the other hand, is easy.

Rewriting the past.

In real life, rewriting the past is not possible, but if the crisis point has not yet come, it is still there as an option.

Consider the option in terms of reconfiguring how the in media res plays out. Suppose a 30-year-old had $2,000,000 of life insurance instead of the $100,000 group benefit supplied by his employer?

The future would play out very differently, but at a price.

The price


The premium paid each month. Call an advisor and discover the price. Focus on coverage and no other aspect. You will find it surprisingly small.

Now ask another question. If the price had reduced the cash available in the past, would your friends and family have different stories to tell about your life?

Probably not.

No one yet has died with everything looked after. Life insurance buys out some of the problems. Life insurance let’s you die neat. That’s a value.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. 

In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com  866-285-7772

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