What if this was your last day on Earth? How would you feel about the status of your life? Would you wish you were going in a different direction? If today was your last day, but then you got a reprieve and got another year, how would you change your life? What if you got another decade?
This week I had undergo a medical procedure that is quite routine but would require that I undergo anesthesia and have scopes and stuff put into my body (those of you who are 50 or older, know what procedure I’m talking about). In 2012, risks with anesthesia are relatively uncommon, and the procedure is basically a safe one, but I couldn’t help but think about the “what ifs.” I mean after all, there are cases where people undergo a totally “safe” procedure and then there are all sorts of complications. And here I was going in for a procedure where they’re messing with my brain and my insides. So I did think to myself, “what if Friday morning was IT?” What if it was the BIG “IT”? What if I wasn’t around anymore?
This blog isn’t focused on the usual things that people think of when they consider their mortality. Such as, “did I tell everyone I love that I love them?”, and “have I asked for forgiveness from people I may have wronged?”, and “is my Last Will & Testament prepared?” or things of that sort. All those go without saying.
What this blog is focused on is, “are you living the life you are meant to live? “ “Are you happy doing what you are doing?” “Are you fulfilled?”
We all get one chance at life; one chance to write our story the way we want it to go. And we are the only ones that can decide which way our life will go. Often times, though, we follow the path of what we “should” be doing and we aren’t doing what we might actually be “meant” to do. For example, our parents might direct our post-school plans, usually in a well-meaning way, but maybe we feel our life should be going in a different direction. Often, we just kind of go with the flow and get into a career or head in a direction that just doesn’t feel right, but is the expected direction. Or perhaps we go in the direction we think we want to go, but it’s just not making us happy and we feel stuck.
Then, all of a sudden, we are in our 30s or 40s or 50s and we’re in a job or a career that pays the bills and covers the insurance, but we aren’t happy. Or maybe we’re spending a lot of time with people whose company we really don’t enjoy. Or perhaps we aren’t happy with how we feel physically or emotionally. And we think, “Well, it is what it is” and we wake up the next day and do the same thing all over again.
What if, for just one day, we all conducted an experiment. Pay attention to how you feel about everything you do.
- What things do you do that make you happy?
- What makes the time fly?
- What do you wish you could do more of?
- What are those things you do during the day that suck the energy out of you?
- What makes you watch the clock?
- When you read the paper, which things move you, and which don’t?
- When you listen to the radio, what makes you perk up and listen, and what bores you?
Maybe you’ll realize:
- You hate your job in general, but there are certain aspects of it that you love.
- Your friends just aren’t doing it for you, but you don’t want to rock the boat.
- You’re in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling but you are afraid you won’t find a “better” one.
- You are bored to tears; you feel like you get up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed, and do it all over again and you couldn’t be more boring if you tried.
- You are hiding some aspect of yourself from your family/friends, because you are afraid of their reaction.
- You wish you could do something for the hungry, but you just don’t have the time.
If you don’t have any “a-ha’s” from your one day of feeling everything you do, then continue the experiment for a week.
And then what?
Think about what moves you, and what depresses you. If there are areas of your life that are unfulfilling for any reason, it is up to you to fix them. It’s not your parents’ fault you’re where you are because you didn’t want to disappoint them. It’s not your husband’s/wife’s fault you’re at the job you’re at because he/she wanted you to take it. It’s not your partner’s fault they don’t meet your needs if you’ve never communicated those needs. It’s not your friend’s fault you have a lousy time when you’re out with them.
The only one responsible for your life is you. It’s up to YOU to make a change. And you know why? So when it IS your last day on earth, you will know you did the best you could with the time you had. You will know that you pursued those things that made you happy. There’s a reason they make you happy – it’s because that’s who you are. You will know you did something that was worthwhile for you.
So pretend, just for a day or two that you are at the end of your life. Are you happy? Are you where you want to be? Did you do everything you wanted to do?
If not, do something about it. Start looking for a job that better fits your interests. Start moving away from those friends that pull you down. Make a call to a charity near to your heart and donate some time. Make new friends. Get a dog. Do whatever it is that would make you feel more fulfilled.
Because every morning you wake up, you’ve been given one more chance to make your life the one you’re meant to live. Grasp those opportunities, and run with them.
Enjoy your life. It’s the only one you get.