LIVE TODAY TO THE FULLEST
Last week a young person I knew died in the motorcycle crash. Aspiring photographer, at twenty-six he captured amazing photos and videos of nature. He was getting better every year and would have done so much more. My heart ached over the life cut short, but he lived it well surrounded by loving family, friends, adventure and work he enjoyed.
I was trying to remember myself at that age. I had so many plans. I was having my second child, working towards a new degree. Here I am ten years later. Can I say that I have accomplished more by living longer? Have I gone further, reached higher, ended up where I wanted to be? Am I happy with what I have done so far or did I get stuck, took detour, gave up?
Years fly by but it feels like our time on Earth is infinite. The end is often unexpected and unwelcome. In the hospital I encounter people of different ages that get near their death due to illness or accident. Most are not ready. Most regret not sticking around for a bit longer.
I do also meet individuals who, like apostle Paul, say: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." The reality is, we don't usually know when our journey is going to end. I think what matters more is not how many years we live, but how we live them.
It is easy to think that we still have tomorrow and procrastinate in going after our dreams. But what if we don't get many tomorrows? Will today be spent differently? Will the "have to's" be set aside in order to do what is enjoyable with those who are dear to our heart? Why not do it now?
THE TIME TO GO AFTER THE DREAMS IS NOW
Some people did not waste any time on Earth. Even though they left early, their mark was deeper and broader than millions of others who lived longer. Here are just a few of them:
Joan of Arc helped France coronate the king and gain ground in the war for independence before she turned nineteen. She became a national symbol.
By seventeen Raphael became a master painter and by twenty-five created the amazing frescoes in the Vatican. People come to see his work from all over the world.
Jesus left this Earth at thirty-three but his teachings transformed humanity and in every generation, millions of people follow him.
I was given more years than any of them to reach my potential, but today I still feel far from where I want to be. I wish I could go back in time and use my days more wisely but all I have left are the years ahead of me. So, I want to go through them with the end in mind, focusing on what is important, seizing each moment.
How do I want my life to look like when it's completed?
What will matter the most?
What does my heart long for?
Is what I am doing right now helping me get there?
Am I going in the right direction?
I don't want to regret my choices when it's too late to change anything. I don't want to set things aside for later. I want to live my life now.
CREATE LIFE OF NO REGRETS
Several years ago I read an article by Bronnie Ware about the top regrets of the dying. She had a privilege of helping ease people's last weeks of life. Here are the regrets they shared with her:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
(read more at https://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/)
Facing the fact that we are all going to die sooner or later gives us the courage to live true to who we are,
answer our call,
honor our dreams,
listen to our heart,
enjoy every moment,
let go of things that are pulling us away from what is important and make daily choices to
live life fully.
With Henry David Thoreau I want to wish to every person and to myself: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."