Even if you aren’t a country music fan, chances are you have heard the Tim McGraw tune Live like you are dying.
I was just watching one of my favorite TV shows, Saving Hope, and a man who happened to be a doctor, was speaking about his teenaged years. His father was sick with lung cancer and his parents decided not to tell him because they wanted him to live a normal life. Zach, the character recalled those last days, as an unknowing teenager, how he disobeyed, said nasty things, slammed doors etc. His next line struck a chord with me and I had to come write about it. He said, “If only I had known, I would have treated him differently!” How many times have you thought something like that? You would have acted differently, done something differently, treated someone differently… I am guilty of that, as I am sure most of us are. My question is, why wait? Why do we need the threat of losing someone to admit we love them? Why do we need the threat or reality of someone we love being hurt before treat them with love and respect? Why do we need to find out that some big argument was actually just a big miscommunication before we find compassion and forgiveness? Why do we need to know someone’s true motivations before we can treat them with respect?
Why do we wait for anything? Think about it, we all know that we are here for an indefinite amount of time. We do not know if that will be in 90 years or 90 seconds for that matter, why are we all waiting for some future moment to be happy? Why are we all waiting for some magical thing to occur before we start living? Why are we putting off our lives? Our Happiness? Time is precious, how many times do we hear that phrase? What do we think it really means?
It means do it now! Do it today! If you knew your significant other was going to die tomorrow, would you really care about that chore that didn’t get done? Would it matter that they came home a few minutes late, after a bad day at work? If you knew they were going to die tomorrow, would you still choose to stare at our phones over the dinner table?
If today was the last day with someone you love, what would you do differently? What things wouldn’t matter anymore? What things would suddenly matter the most? Why does the threat of a last day with someone we love make us act differently? Why does it make us treat them differently? Love them? Hate them less? Why does it take the idea of death to make us speak from our souls? Clearly, if the idea of death makes us want to act differently, we are already incongruent.
When I really started contemplating this idea, it made me very sad. How sad this is that we are not more true to our souls, that we are not living a more loving life? How sad that we have all come to a place where we are afraid to act lovingly, where minor irritations become our focus rather than the love. I know the love is there, if it were not, our intentions would not be swayed by imagining this to be our last interaction. If each of us started choosing to be authentic, to speak and act more lovingly to each other, what a different world this would be.
Imagine still if we started thinking and acting more lovingly towards ourselves. Do you have a bucket list? Do you have a dream? What are you waiting for? If this were your last year, or worse, your last day on earth, what would you do differently? Why does it take the threat of some unexpected ending for us to start living? The thing is… it really is not unexpected…we are all going to die and we all know it. Unless you have seen the future, you also don’t know when that is going to happen, it could be at any time. Since death is expected and the timeline is unknown… should we not all start living as if today were our last day? Should we not all start living as if today were going to be the last interaction with someone we love? Today could very easily be our last day on this earth. Why do we all wait for that to be true before we start acting on it?
Get out there and live like you are dying. These aren’t just words… really let that sink in, think about what that really means. Time is precious, we always say it, yet we never seem to mean it, we never seem to act on it. Imagine a world where we all believed today was our last. What if it really is? Would you love someone more? Would you play more? Laugh more? Touch more? What would it mean to take our last breath with reflect on everything we have done with not a single regret? Imagine a life where we are unafraid to love, to explore, to experience.
This is what it means to live free. We love more, we live more, our souls are free!