The Day I Lived Like My Last
When you love something, committing to it isn’t so difficult. Hypothetically.
In practice, it may not always be that easy.
I love writing. But as much as I enjoy it, sometimes I can only assemble a few sentences before my mind wanders off to something else.
Recently, my friend at Art of Wellbeing told me that she publishes articles twice a week – every Tuesday and Friday.
I was inspired by her dedication, and I decided to match her schedule. Mostly, I took it as a personal challenge – I wanted to see if I could crank out two quality articles a week without losing my passion. And for about a month, I did.
This morning, a Tuesday, I woke up with every intention to write an article. But there were some things I needed to do first.
I had a leisurely breakfast. I read a good book. I walked to a nearby café and sat down to get some work done.
I finished what I needed to, and stopped to chat with my friends. The conversation was uplifting and entertaining, and what I intended to be a few minute break quickly turned into twenty minutes.
Inspired by our conversation, I wrote out a few paragraphs for the site. But the morning had slipped away from me, and soon it was time to meet my friend for lunch.
This was a friend that I cherish dearly, and one that I hadn’t seen in a while. Her sparkle is contagious, and I felt her positive energy for the entirety of our meal.
After lunch, I returned to a café, determined to finish my article. I wrote a few hundred words and looked at my watch.
I had plans to meet up with some friends at 6:00pm to go to the local orphanage. We try to go every Tuesday, but there’s nobody holding us accountable.
I considered skipping, but this is my last week in Ho Chi Minh City, and I really wanted to say goodbye to the kids.
So with only 442 words written, I closed my laptop and headed out the door. I thought I could finish it when I got home later.
The orphanage is about 20 minutes away, and in the same neighborhood that my brother lives.
My brother is my best friend. Unfortunately, he’s been managing severe headaches nearly every day for over a year. He’s been to countless doctors and nobody can figure out the cure. His unwavering positive attitude is inspiring and unbelievable.
Some days are better than others. Today, he didn’t get out of bed until 5pm.
So when he invited me to dinner, I jumped at the opportunity. My article could wait.
During our meal, he made a comment about his headaches.
“Well,” he said, “At least this pain is teaching me to really live each day like it’s my last.”
The comment reminded me of my unfinished article waiting for me back home. It made me appreciate that I chose to meet him for dinner instead of heading home to work on it.
If this were my last day on Earth, I wouldn’t want to spend it sitting in a coffee shop forcing myself to write the additional 558 words it would take to complete my half-written piece.
If today were my last day on Earth, I’d be happy that I “wasted” time this morning joking with my friends. I’d be happy that I spent a few hours at the orphanage. And I’d be happy that I had dinner with my brother. Because if this were my last day on Earth, I’d want to spend it hanging out with the people I love.
I know this isn’t a sustainable way of looking at things. If I truly lived every day like it was my last, I probably wouldn’t do much work. And I’d probably eat way too many desserts.
Hopefully, I have many, many years left on this planet. And to enjoy those years, I need some money in my bank account and some mobility in my body.
I can still take some time off work. And I can still enjoy a brownie or two. But it’s equally important to acknowledge that there's a chance that I won't get fifty more years to enjoy. And I shouldn't take the future for granted. Because they are certainly not guaranteed.
Each day very well could be our last.
At any moment, I could suffer a heart attack. Or get hit by a car. Or the sun could explode.
So while I don’t plan to literally live each day like it’s my last, I do hope that I can remember this lesson every day. I hope I can continue to be mindful and conscious in every decision I make.
Normally, I would wait to publish this article. I would spend another hour editing and polishing it until I was satisfied with the way the words flowed into each other.
But for all I know, this is my last day on Earth.
So screw it.
I write this blog because it helps reinforce these ideas in my head. I write because it’s a creative outlet for me. I write because I truly believe that these principles can help people – whether that’s one person or one hundred or one million.
But I don’t need to take it so seriously.
If today were my last day on Earth, it wouldn’t matter that I skipped a few hours of writing in the evening to hang out with my brother. And if it truly were my last day on Earth, I’d want to get this message out to the world, with all its imperfections, hoping that maybe even just one person will understand what I’m trying to say.
Hoping that maybe one person will take an extra second to appreciate the beauty of life or to give somebody a hug or to publish that unedited article.
Because who knows what tomorrow will bring.