If you are an adult, you have probably played some version of the following “games.”
- Top 10 places you want to visit before you die.
- If you knew today was the last day of your life what would you do?
If you have ever listened to anyone talk about “living a simpler life” or to live a more “meaningful” life then you are familiar with these other thought provoking questions:
- If you were to die today would you be happy with everything you accomplished?
- What would your obituary/grave stone say about you?
And most of us are probably familiar with versions of “live life like today is your last day on earth.” (Whoever said that should have slapped a copyright on that phrase and collected royalties forever while “living the life.”)
Playing around with this idea that death is the foundation on which we should live and design our lives leaves me wondering why we assume that time is always on our side. We assume that we will have time to accomplish our bucket list, that our busy schedules will some how ease up in time, and that once said magical time arrives we will actually get to do the things we want to do.
Let’s be honest. Those thought exercises are just exercises in thought. If you were to ask most people if they would drop everything to live “life today as if it were your last,” what are they going to tell you? They will tell you that they have bills to pay, or other responsibilities that they could never abandon, or they may say maybe if they were rich they could live that dream.
A conversation with a friend today made me realize how absurd those exercises are and how ridiculous it is to suggest to anyone that they “live every day as their last.” This is especially true for small business owners responsible for more than what they probably anticipated they would be responsible for. It is even more true for primary care givers responsible for raising, feeding, and nurturing children, maintaining a relationship with partners, friends, and family, taking care of pets, all while meeting previous commitment deadlines (pun intended) and committing themselves to more deadlines.
How is your average day-to-day human supposed to live today like it is the last when said human is too busy catching up on the things they didn’t do a few days ago because they were sick, their child or parent was sick, or their wallet was stolen? We can’t complete our bucket list when our daily lists include things like “Self! Don’t forget to shower!!” We can’t focus on the character traits that will look good on our obituary when we don’t eat because we are so busy. And if we depend on the times, “when things settle down,” “after the holidays,” “this summer,” or “next weekend” we risk the chance that we still won’t have the time, the money, the health, or the strength to hit that bucket list, do what we want, to make the changes we want, or to see the people we love the most.
Don’t you think we spend way too much time thinking about they way things will be or should be and not enough time trying to make it right for today?
As an average human, primary care giver, and small business owner, I can’t live life today as it is my last. I don’t know one person who can. I am doing my best just to live life in a way that makes it possible for me to say “I was okay with today.” I am working on doing small things daily that just make me feel good.
So I end today’s Fitzer’s Corner with a couple of the things I am working on doing more often so that I can say, “I am okay with today.” I hope you take some time to try them to. Bonus, you might make someone else’s day.
- Hug someone for 20 seconds. It feels weird at first. You might want to let the person know that you are doing it. Make a practice of it. A 20 second hug feels like forever when you are in the middle of making breakfast and packing lunches but let it happen. Close your eyes if it feels good for you. Take a deep breath and exhale. Great way to start the morning.
- Send an email or text to someone you have not spoken to in awhile. Ask them how they have been. Tell them you miss them. Let them know why you thought of them.
- Send an email or a note to someone you work with or encounter in the community. Let them know about something specific they did or do well. Sign it and send it. That’s it!
- If you have a pet that is into cuddling, take 60 seconds from your day and pet her fur slowly. Look into his eyes. Nuzzle your face into your furry friend. Take a deep breath and exhale. An amazing way to end your day.
I know this is a bit of an out of character Fitzer’s Corner post but it is one that I think every business owner, primary care giver, hard-working individual, and average person can relate to. As always, please let me know what you think and if you have any questions or comments please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org