If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?
Sometimes we forget how fleeting life is. There are no guarantees. We might be here until we're 100 years old, or we might check out in our twenties or thirties. We just don't know. But most of us tend to trick ourselves into believing that we have all the time in the world. We procrastinate, hesitate and put off the things that are truly important to us.
If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you have any regrets? Would you feel a sense of loss for all the things you didn't do? I'm not referring to major accomplishments like climbing a mountain. I mean the smaller, more precious moments in life. Would you regret not spending more time with your children or spouse? Would you feel disappointed that you never signed up for those dance lessons you've always wanted to take, or wrote the book that's hiding in your heart?
Think back to your childhood for a moment. Remember how slowly time seemed to move? Remember how people in their twenties seemed old, and people in their thirties and forties seemed positively ancient? My grandmother told me years ago that the older you get, time moves more quickly. I didn't believe her. I was a teenager when she told me that, and to my astonishment, more than 20 years have passed since then. How is that possible? Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I was graduating from high school and had my whole life ahead of me. Time really does seem to move more quickly as you get older. I'll have to remember to tell that to my own grandchildren. *grin*
So, how can we live our lives in a way that will leave us with no regrets? It seems that life has gotten so busy for most of us. How do we find the time and energy to do what really matters? Most of us still have to work, we have responsibilities and demands on our time. Is filling up our schedule with more "stuff" really the answer? No, I don't think so.
I think the answer isn't so much about adding more to our lives, but rather, more deeply enjoying the lives we have now. Certainly we should follow our dreams and engage in fun activities. If you really want to sign up for those dance lessons, go for it. If you have a novel begging to be written, write it! But adding those activities alone will not transform our entire lives.
What transforms a person's life is how present they are in their day to day tasks. While you're working, immerse yourself in the work. Give it your full attention and effort and passion. When you put aside your work for the day, also put it out of your mind. When you are spending time with your family, enjoy them. Laugh, have fun, play. Engage meaningfully with your spouse. Let your family know how much you love and appreciate them.
Finally, and most importantly, allow yourself to really experience life. Take frequent moments throughout your day to breathe, feel, BE. Too many of us spend our days in a rushed fog. We don't take time to awaken and enjoy. We are sleeping through the best parts of our lives. Simply opening our spiritual eyes and looking around can refresh and invigorate us.
Cherish each moment you have on this earth. Live with passion, joy and awe. Cram as much happiness, fun and love into your life as you can. Then when regret comes knocking at your door, there is simply no room for it to come in.