I pondered over this question while I was sitting by the water today after work. With much sadness inside of me, it was quite uplifting to just be outside, feel the warmth of the sun and cool breeze blowing on my face, hear the waves crashing on the rocks, and see all the beautiful birds, fishes and other creatures around. It was a great place to ponder over thoughts in my mind that seemed so cluttered while I was at work. I love work, and I love to work hard, but it’s not always the best place to slow down and make sense out of life. So, there I sat on a rock thinking, what if we all knew when we would die? Not a huge deal if the answer is, say, 40 years from now, but what if the answer is next year? Next month? Tomorrow? How would we do life differently?
So often, people live their lives as though tomorrow is promised. I’m quite guilty of that, planning every detail of today, tomorrow, this week, this year or 5 years from now (even though, as experience proves it, things don’t always go as planned). And yet, truthfully, no one can be certain that they would live to be 80 or 90 years old. We can’t even be certain that we’ll be alive tomorrow. That sounds troubling (and I apologize if it made you feel down), but that’s the reality of life. We live everyday like important things can wait. “I can chase after my goals when I’m done with this,” or, “I can visit my mother next week,” or “I’m still angry at [insert name of loved one], and I’m not going to talk to them until they talk to me first!”
We live life like there’s always tomorrow to do something that we can’t imagine living life without. Are we too busy with the everyday mundane that we can’t make time to tell someone we love them, or help out someone in need, or even spend time with our loved ones? When you are facing the last minutes of your life, you’re not going to wish that you had finished that report for work, or that you lost that extra 10 pounds in the gym, or you bought that new car. Chances are, you are going to think of your loved ones. You are going to wish you had more time. You are going to reflect back on your life and ask if it meant anything at all.
I’ve asked myself this question many times and try to remind myself every now and then if I am doing anything about it: When you’re gone, how will people remember you? I know what my answer is but this is a question that perhaps more people should take to heart. People often chase after things that, in the end, will yield little to no fruitful outcome.
There is a quote by Kevin Welch that I like:
“There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read them. But all that is going to matter is that little dash between them.”
That dash in the midst of two important dates represents everything in between. What will that dash represent in your life? That dash seems like something you don’t have to worry about yet, but how far along are you on making that dash count, and how much time do you have left? Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t believe people should live life in fear. On the contrary, I think we should live life boldly moving forward knowing that if today was our last day, then we can smile knowing we did our best with what we have with the people in our lives.
If we lived life this way, would we waste our day in hate? I don’t believe so. I believe people would love more, forgive easier, move on faster. I believe people wouldn’t dwell as much on what they dislike but appreciate more of what they already have. I believe people would see the real beauty of life rather than take advantage of it. Basically, people would do more of what they don’t do enough, and less on the everyday trivial matters that we spend too much time on.
I wish that when you get up every morning, you wake up with gratitude for another day. I wish for you to have the heart to let go of resentment and focus more on love: love yourself and love others. I wish that you would take advantage of every opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life. I wish you would work enough to make it a productive day but make time doing something to relax your mind, body and spirit. I wish you would connect more to the Divine and a little less on earthly matters. I wish you would see the the true miracle of life and the gift of being alive in this world.