I just watched The Fault in Our Stars (a novel by Josh Green that was made into a movie last year with Shailene Woodley.) Not only did it have me using my sleeve to wipe my tears, but it got me thinking.
If I knew I was going to die – soon – how would I live? What would I choose to do differently?
I understand that we’re all dying at this very moment, but there’s something that gets triggered when we take hold of the fact that our time is limited. (One that only gets clearer as the years pass – yikes!)
It’s like all of the sudden we’re jolted awake, seeing clearer, raised high above it all.
Think of being on an airplane and looking out the window as you lift off – everything below gets smaller, your perspective starts to shift, and your ears may begin to pop. You get that big picture view rather than being caught up in your own small frame of mind.
I realize that if you were just told that life as you know it would be coming to an end sooner than you hoped, you’d go through different emotional stages. I’m not trying to ignore them or make light of something serious. I’m just trying to illustrate a more general point here.
When we know we don’t have long, a sense of urgency is created. We suddenly think of what we’ve done so far, what matters most, what we have yet to do… An automatic prioritization takes place.
Suddenly the guy who cut you off in traffic doesn’t irritate you as much because you ain’t got time for that! You have more pressing matters to give your attention to. You don’t sweat the small stuff.
You might book the trip we’ve been dreaming about, ask the cute dogwalker out for coffee, say good-bye to a toxic relationship, look for a more soul-satisfying job, introduce carbs back into your diet - anything to be happy and enjoy your last days.
Things that held you back before don’t seem like such a big deal. You become bolder and start to do and say things that would have to scared you before, because – why not? You’ve got nothing to lose!
Let’s face it, none of us know when our time’s going to be up, so living each day like it’s our last is a way to make the most of it so we can go out with no regrets - or as few as possible. ;-)
I get that living every day with passion and conviction is not always easy. We’re all going to have days when that’s challenging.
But, for the most part, if we could quiet down enough to hear the clock ticking, I believe we’d live with greater intention and purpose, and that would create an abundance of joy in our lives. And isn’t that what we want??
Watching The Fault in Our Stars obituary scene reminded me of an exercise I give to the fine women I work with if/when they’re really stuck and can’t seem to get outside themselves.
Imagine it’s your funeral. Yes your funeral. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to say about you?
If you want to go down in history as someone who always put her family first, then what are you doing working until 9pm every day and making no time to create the family you supposedly want so badly?
If you want to be known as someone who always had a kind word or a smile for somebody else, then why are you walking around everywhere with your head down? Look up! Connect!
If you want to have traveled the world and experienced different cultures, but have yet to take one trip, what are you waiting for??
A constant awareness that life is short (Just like this winter was - NOT!) can help you focus on what really matters.
Are you making your precious time here on earth count? If not, why not? Do you want to, but feel discouraged because it all feels so big and unattainable?
Remember what Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Get going! ;)
Here’s to living each day like it could be your last!
Oh, and if you liked this or know someone who might, would you please spread The Buzz? I’d “bee” ever so grateful. Thank you!
Have a sweet day! Until next time…
Amy, The Queen Bee NYC
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