Living As If There Were No Tomorrow

Perfection of character consists in this; living each day as if it were the last, and spending each moment in peace.
Marcus Aurelius

What would you do differently if you knew today was your last day to live? What if you knew you had only a week, a month, or a year of life left? Staring mortality in the face tends to focus the mind and change priorities. People who have had near death experiences or who have been given terminal diagnoses often describe a transformation in which they comprehend the preciousness of everyday life. They reorder priorities with the recognition of what is truly important, and they want to squeeze the juice out of the remaining days of their life.

What a shame it is to wait for a life-threatening event to wake up to the joy of living. There is no reason to wait. Wake up now! Think about your life, what you do, what you say, what you haven't said. What if your life was cut short? What would you have hoped to do or say?

Moment to moment, be open to the experience of the NOW. You've got to relax for this. You have to be still sometimes to see and hear the wonder around you. Notice the little things. There is joy to be had watching a robin seeking breakfast, or in observing the movement of leaves in the wind, or watching children at play. Look at the sky. There is the beauty of the blue sky and the ever-changing clouds. That airplane full of tourists flying over---tap into the excitement on board. Share their joy in their adventure.

You will not get all of your wishes, whether you die today or 100 years from now. That means you should enjoy what you've got. So many people have so much less than you do. Do you appreciate what you have? Have you got your health? Do you have some relationships that work or could be made to work? Do you get enough to eat? Do you have a place to sleep? If the answers are yes, you are fortunate. Living fully means being grateful for all that supports you in living.

From time to time, remember to be grateful. Every day, take time to cherish small moments. Breathe mindfully. Walk mindfully. Eat mindfully. Tell those that matter to you that they do. Use your gifts.

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© 2008 Tom Barrett