Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Live like you were dying?

An old high school friend who is now a professional motivational speaker posted the following status update:
"If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?"

This sort of thing gives me a mixed reaction. Part fury, part thoughtfulness. The message implies that we need to make sure that we don't leave anything unsaid or undone, or wasting our time on things that don't really matter. If I knew I would be dying by morning, I would try to say goodbye to all of my loved ones. I'd want to spend the evening cuddled up with my kids and husband, creating a few last minute good memories. I wouldn't bother doing the dishes, paying the bills, cooking dinner.

However, I'm reasonably sure I won't be dying by morning. So, I will cook dinner (marinated turkey breast in the slow cooker). I'll do the dishes. I'll straighten up a bit. I'll put a kid in time out for hitting. I'll support my husband in his job so that he can continue to pay the mortgage, utilities and food.

It's one thing to live in the moment, but you also have to live for the future. To live fully in the moment means to not plan for the future, and that can make the future uncertain, or unbearable.

I feel like status messages like his imply that we should only be living for the moment, and not living for the future. Instead of ranting on about responsibility, I simply replied with the following:

I would certainly rather not spend my last evening holding a girl scout meeting. However, since I'm reasonably sure it ISN'T the last night of my life, I'll do so, since I think it'll have a long range positive benefit for my daughter and her troop.

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