I’ve been thinking about this topic lately because of news from a few different people lately of loved ones nearing their last days or being diagnosed with scary and unfortunate illnesses, such as cancer. I also just watched the series finale of How I Met Your Mother and…(spoiler alert! Don’t read the next sentence if you intend to still watch it. Love the show, btw) it also brought me back to the realization that one’s life can end at any moment and we must truly appreciate and make the most of the present. After having a child, I’ve also been more sensitive to the idea of loss, as I now have another life that is depending on me for so much and on whom so much of my own sense of well-being now depends, not to mention the increasing bond I have with my family–my loving husband and parents (who are now grandparents)–and dear friends, as well.
As a friend of mine recently expressed to me, all we have is NOW. We can think back to our past and learn from it, we can envision and plan for our future, but the one and only moment that is real is RIGHT NOW. So, why not make the most of it and live this very moment at your best? I have a little plaque at home that says ‘…live each day as if it were your last.’ I like this perspective, although I find it challenging to live by all the time because I can’t truly internalize how I would really feel or act if I absolutely knew I was on my last days. I’m pretty sure I would spend as much time as possible with loved ones and soaking in all the beautiful things on this planet, such as nature, good food, music and dancing (amongst other things), but I think I would feel a different (perhaps a deeper, more connected and aware) sense of self and perspective on life that one can only have when one is in such a situation. In any case, what I think is key is ensuring that we live in such a way that we would not have any regrets if our lives were to (unfortunately) end too soon. To this end, I try to give my husband and child a loving gesture each and every time I or they leave the house to go out, I try and frequently communicate words of love, kindness and appreciation to those around me, and I try and be the best person I can be a little more each and every moment of each day. I certainly do fall into traps of negativity and unproductivity from time to time, but reminders of life’s fragile timeline helps me improve. Meditation is also a great tool for training ourselves to be present. I don’t want to come off as being overly fatalistic–instead, my goal is to inspire greater authenticity. All we have is now. Let’s make the most of the present and strive to live our best lives, being our best selves, each and every precious day.
Feel free to check out a different but related post I wrote on this topic several years ago.