Live Like You Were Dying

Suppose you just got the news. The doctor told you that you have 24 hours to live.
What would you do? How would you spend that last 24 hours? I bet you wouldn’t be fretting over the phone bill being a day late. My guess is you would not waste one minute on argument – not even for the principle of the matter.
Would you have any regrets?
If you had known that THIS was going to be your last day on earth, would you have lived your life differently?
Would you have looked deeply into the eyes of your loved ones when you said “I love you” for the last time or would have been the way you said it last time? When WAS the last time you told the people you love how much you actually care?

NOW, suppose in hour 23 (of your last 24), the doctor calls, apologizing profusely about mixing up the charts and announcing that you are not only NOT going to die today but by all accounts you are expected to live a long, healthy life.
Would your perspective change? Would you live your life from this day forward with a new appreciation?

It is honestly not realistic to live completely every day as if it were your last (Dan Gilbert explores this hypothesis at length in his book, Stumbling on Happiness). In fact, to do so would be to throw away one of humans most profound (and recent) gifts: the ability to plan into the future. According to Tal Ben-Shahar in his book, Happier, the way to true Happiness is to plan for the future and strive for our goals but to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

Would your life be different if you thought you were dying and got a second chance? I invite you to sit with this notion. Not just finish reading this and go back to your life. Rather than EXPERIENCING the heart attack, car wreck or other unforeseen disaster, why not get your new lease on life RIGHT NOW? Pretend! Live the next 24 hours as if they were your last (nothing illegal or anything that would hurt another person, please) and then live the rest of your life with a fresh perspective.
Ready? Your new life begins in three….. two…… WON!

Frank Clayton
Licensed Professional Counselor

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