Recently I came across Arthur, an older gentleman who used to live in our building. I had not seen him or his wife for six months and in the past we had talked a few times. They seemed to be nice and private people.
Although we did not speak the same language when I saw him he was in tears, trying to explain in English that his wife passed away a few months ago.
He was devastated. And, I could not help but feel a degree of his pain, as I thought of my wife upstairs.
There are times when we lose someone dear to us. It is something most of us try to avoid thinking about, and we tell ourselves we’ll deal with it when it happens to us. But we all secretly hope it never does.
Our impermanence is something, however, we should be thinking about. When we do that, it actually helps live a better life.
The thought of our eternal departure reminds us to appreciate our family, loved ones and friends while we are still all present in each other’s lives. Even in those mundane moments, or the tough times, the prospect of someone no longer being a part of our daily lives is a reminder to hold every moment with them close to the heart and memory.
When the specter of what is always just beyond the horizon of our days becomes something we embrace, we learn to live a different life.
If you were told you had less than one year to live, what would you do with each of your remaining days?
Would you live a life that never pushed the boundaries beyond your comfort zone? Or, would you reach out to the world in a way you have never done, full of fearlessness?
Would you squeeze the very last drop out of your life and make it as fulfilling as possible?
Or, would you remain fixated on the excuses many of us accumulate that keep us from living a life on our terms?
Would you do something out of the ordinary scope of your life?
What happens if you learned that your spouse, partner or loved one had less than a year to live? What would you help that person do with each of those remaining days?
Perhaps your first instinct is to say, “I’m only human. I only can do so much.”
I’d like to challenge you to think with regard to your own life, how you can rise up to the fact that our life as it is today will not be like that forever. Unfortunately, most of us will experience the passing of our other half or someone who is a kindred spirit.
The way to meet the permanent sleep that awaits each of us is to accept the idea of mortality every day.
It is by doing this, mindfully, each and every day that we can then do the following:
- Live life to the fullest.
- Be good to people and appreciate their presence in our lives always.
- Take care and enjoy our families, even in those moments that are seemingly banal and not full of any excitement other than simply occupying the same space in a room.
- Do the things you have always wanted to do: a trip, start a new business or write a book, etc.
- Treat yourself and your partner often to little and simple things, which demonstrate you care.
- Do something outrageous and fun, just because.
- Invite people (even strangers) to your home and into your life.
- Really see and experience the growth and development of your children instead of always being at work or too tired.
Many times we do something because we feel we ought to do this or the other to keep somebody happy, buy what about you?
Life is too short to hate, to be unfulfilled or not to be grateful for each day. Say “thank you” more often. Be ambitious to do your thing, but humble at the same time. Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry if you made a mistake.
Forgive yourself in life. It’s okay if you didn’t become an astronaut, quarterback or a successful entrepreneur or even actor. Life is still good because you have it and those who you love with you. It’s fine that you followed another path and became something else. Glamour is overrated.
Realize that your mission is to live your life, experience the journey and if you are part of a couple, to make the other person’s life better along with your own.
If you live to be 80 years old you are living for only 29,200 days. Think of those 365 days a year mindfully and with purpose. With your time on earth you are meant to say, “I lived. I experienced. I loved.”
Get to a point in your life where if something happened to you – or someone you loved – you can say have no regrets. I lived my life. I cherished my family and those around me. And, I wrote the definitive story of an amazing life.
What a powerful feeling if all of us can experience that.
What a life!
Posted: February 29, 2016
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