Every year when my birthday comes around, I experience a period of deep reflection. For me, the day of my birth represents the concept of a new year in a much more significant and personal way than the calendar simply rolling into the next year.
My contemplation this particular birthday has been focused on the wonderful things I want to accomplish and invite into my life, now that I’m one year older and presumably wiser. I appreciate the opportunity to check in with myself to see the progress I’ve made and embrace this next year with arms wide open.
During my birthday soul searching, I learned that a cherished friend of mine is also experiencing an intense period of reflection; though she is looking at how she will spend the last few moments of her life – knowing that she won’t make it to celebrate another birth day.
After the initial shock wears off, when you realize that it is useless to pretend that she will suddenly regain her health and vitality, recognition and understanding kick in: She won’t be with us much longer, and the time we have left with her is very precious. Though she struggles to be enthusiastic and peppy, she is hyper-aware of each passing second.
I’ve heard the song, “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw many times, and though it always carries an inspirational message, it hasn’t quite touched my heart with this level of raw vulnerability until now. I’m contemplating how I want to live my next year, until my next check-in – while she is contemplating how to live each moment, unsure if she can make plans for next week.
It’s a bittersweet moment when you realize how much time (and opportunity) we have on our hands every day, week, month, year…. and just how precious that same allotment becomes when you understand that your time is of limited supply.
Where do your thoughts go?
I find the opportunities for contemplation between how to honor my next year of life, and how to cherish the dwindling moments at the end of life overlap in fascinating ways – our desires are similar: heartfelt wishes, quality time spent with our loved ones, conversations to be had… Yet, for her, with death looming just beyond the horizon, these yearnings take on a newer sense of urgency.
And it seems to me that we waste too much time waiting before we take action on these heartfelt desires. We wait for better weather, a fatter bank account, a skinnier body, a less hectic schedule. We wait for the other person to approach us. We wait for a sign from above.
We accidentally spend most of our lives waiting.
- Why wait until the death bed (or any other crisis) to acknowledge childhood hopes and dreams?
- Why aren’t we out living while we are alive?
- What are you waiting for?
- Have you tackled your tough list?
- Why not make a difference on purpose?
- Why aren’t you changing the world?
- If your time was limited, what would you make your priority? Is that your priority right now? Why or why not?
I am inspired to a new level of commitment toward my own life… no more waiting.
I promise to live my life fully.
Challenge: Ponder what you might do with your life if you only had a limited amount of time left to live. Contemplate why you are waiting to embrace the gift of life fully. Consider if you are alive or are you living.
- Answer each of the questions – you may want to start a journal or a blog to reflect on your journey.
- Share your thoughts with us! (Leave a comment, make a post in the Facebook Group, or even shout out on Twitter!)
- Take steps to address the top three items on your priority list.
I look forward to your answers when I ask you, “Are You Living?”
With mucho a latte of love and respect,
p.s. To my dear friend, I offer you my compassionate presence, reassuring you that your life has mattered – you have touched so many of us. Your life is a song and it will continue to play on… (your voice is playing over my speakers as I type this)… and I will continue to honor, cherish, and love you, no matter which plane your spirit currently resides.