Live as Though This is All There Is
What if you lived as though this is all there is? How would you spend your days? Within your answers lies the life you really want to live – Your Aha! Life.
There’s no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day. ~ Alexander Woollcott
Take a moment. Think about this. You woke up this morning. You’re breathing. Chances are you have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, a job that enables you to exercise your talents and skills, and family and friends you love. You’re living. And the fact that you are living means the world is full of possibility.
Recently, I was faced with a health situation that led me to consider my mortality. Maybe it was my mind thinking the worst-case scenario, but it affected me and how I thought of my life. There is nothing that makes us want to live more than contemplating the possibility of death. Immediately, I started thinking about everything I love about my life and what I would miss.
I want to watch my children and my children’s children grow and prosper in their adult lives. I want to enjoy all the time I have with my dad, who is 83 years old. I want to finish a meaningful career that I love. I want to enjoy more time with my closest friends and family members. I want to experience love with a soulmate. I want to finish writing my book and publishing it. I want to travel and see more of the world, its peoples, and cultures. I want to contribute more to causes I’m passionate about, like equity in education and eradicating poverty and food insecurity. And I want to help others believe in themselves and live their best lives.
In thinking about what I would miss, my Aha! Life became crystal clear. (A great exercise that I recommend).
When there was the slightest chance that my life could be cut short, the things that matter to me became all I could think about. Then, I had an Aha! What if I lived today as though I could die tomorrow? As the Stoics say, “Memento Mori.” What if I lived as though this is all there is? The reality is none of us knows the day or hour of our death. Every day that we wake up and have breath is an important day. A day filled with possibilities, a day to cherish, and a day to live purposefully and intentionally.
When we live as though this is all there is, that this very day is important, then we will prioritize the people, things, activities, and ideas that matter most to us. And no, we won’t finish everything. There will be things left undone, things we don’t get to see or experience. But, if we step into each day with gratitude, purpose, and joy, then the days we have will be well-lived.
How to Live as Though This is All There Is
In her bestselling memoir, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, author Bronnie Ware shared themes she heard from those on their deathbeds during her time as a palliative caregiver. The top five regrets were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish I had let myself be happier.
I’ve read those five regrets many times, and I always appreciated their wisdom. But when I was confronted with my health scare, their wisdom hit me at a different level.
We shouldn’t wait until we’re on our deathbeds or facing a crisis or a diagnosis that threatens our lives. We must realize that while time may be infinite, our time here is not. As such, “There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” No such thing in your life or in my life, as an unimportant day. I don’t believe that means we live scared. Quite the opposite. I believe that means we owe it to ourselves to live bravely. We take the chances we’re playing too safe to take. We love as much and as hard as our hearts desire. We get involved in the causes that move us. We stop saying there is no such thing as work-life balance, and we find our balance. We embrace the adventures that life offers. We stop living on a diet of “shoulds” and instead live from a grateful attitude of “I get to.” And we live a life true to our authentic selves.
Let us commit to living as though this is all there is, making the best of this one wild and precious life.
My purpose is helping others get to know, believe in, and accept themselves so that they live their best lives – lives with more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Their Aha! Life. I’m so grateful you’re on the journey.
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