#5. Verb choice can really set the tone, so go with strong action verbs to make an impact. In a resume you would select verbs such as "demonstrated," "achieved," and "spearheaded" instead of "did," "was," and "stabbed." Likewise, in your farewell letter, instead of "sat," "ordered," and "ate," spice it up with "perched," "demanded," and "devoured." Presto! Just like that, you're transformed into an exciting bird of prey instead of coming across like some bloated, halfwit seagull.
Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images
"It's water weight. Jerk."
#4. Everyone's going to lie a little, but don't make your lies so outrageous as to be pathetic. This may seem like the perfect time to spin fanciful tales of a fantastic yet imaginary life precisely because no one wants to waste precious minutes separating wheaty truth from the fabricated chaff. But just because the planet's power grids all got fried by solar flares doesn't mean everyone's bullshit detectors suddenly switched off. No one's buying that you were an astronaut, Best Buy guy. However, you could probably get away with something a little sexier, like "when I worked in electronics."
Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"And then RZA thanked me for the phone and made me an honorary member of the Wu. But I don't mean to brag ..."
#3. What if there are huge gaps in your life? Look, you're not really human unless you've spent at least one or two years in an unemployable, paralyzed funk doing nothing but watching The Price Is Right and eating marshmallows out of a bag. Don't make excuses for yourself, but these dead spots can always be finessed with a positive spin. You learned exactly how much every item in the grocery store costs, didn't you? Plus you probably thought about writing a novel.
Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
"I've theoretically authored three New York Times best-sellers."
#2. While it's unlikely we'll be caught up with ageism in the run up to doomsday, still be mindful about dating yourself. If you write a 10-page memory book about all the drugs you did and sex you had and bands you saw in the 1960s, you can be sure a lot of people will read your story through with great interest. But you are likely to get passed over for the festivities in favor of someone who could use a last go at excitement. You already got your good time, hippie.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
"You can go. The Viagra can stay."
#1. On the flip side, how about if you're too young to have had much life experience? Enthusiasm for just getting a shot at life goes a long way. You may not have had a career, but you appreciated sunrises and trips to the mountains and puppies and the smell of summertime rain. Just don't make yourself sound too tender and delicious. You'll get invited to the party for the wrong reason.