So here’s the thing: I’m going to die.
But before you freak out over that news, remember this: you are going to die too.
It may seem morbid to some to contemplate one’s own death, but it strikes me as rather bizarre that so many of us– myself included–act on a daily basis as if death were not an inevitability, and that we have all the time in the world.
And of course we don’t.
Sure, I am a healthy male, with a healthy lifestyle, in his late forties and with no serious health events to date. The odds are, an actuary would tell me, that I will live at least through my next decade, and probably well beyond that.
But of course today could very well be my last.
So remembering that basic fact of life today got me thinking: if today were my last day, what are the things I would want to say to the people in my life? I could be wrong, but I think if I were on my deathbed, I wouldn’t regret the things I hadn’t yet crossed off of some “bucket list”; I would regret the things I left unsaid.
So that’s what I did. With my wife and each of my kids, I started with some version of “This is what I need you to know.” With my kids, I added at the end of what I shared: “So years from now, when you think about your papa, I want you to remember how I felt about you.”
And I did the same thing at work to a few of my staff as well–not quite as dramatic sounding, of course, but more along the lines of “If I haven’t said it explicitly before, let me say it now.”
And in the process of all of this–thinking about what I would want to make sure I said to the people in my life, what I needed to make sure they knew–it dawned on me that I could probably direct the same exercise toward myself:
What are the most important things that I need to tell myself? What are those important truths about myself that I need to know?
I started to write out on this blog entry the first thing that came to me this morning, but I thought twice about it and deleted what I had written. I think rather than sharing my answers with you, I will leave you with the same question:
What would you want to make sure you had said to the people in your life if today were your last day? And what would be those “must know” truths about yourself that you would want to affirm?
As the saying goes: Live every day as though it were your last; some day you will be right.
I have said that very thing to myself a lot recently. I have been thinking a lot about what I say and do as well as the things in my life I still need to simplify.
One of the best things about writing daily has been that it gives me a frame, every day, for maintaining my focus on trying to discern what is truly important in my life. It ebbs and flows, to be sure, but the writing helps provide me with a discipline. Good luck on your journey!