LIKE YOU’RE DYING
(BUT HOW EXACTLY DO YOU DO THAT IF YOU'RE NOT?)
as though you were dying is a sentiment I'm sure we’ve all heard at some
point. It comes up for us at various
times, often at the loss of someone close to us, or even upon learning about the
death of someone we didn’t know well, or at all. We get that little reminder; we won’t always
have tomorrow, or next month or next year. Though I had written most of this blog a while ago, I was compelled today to
finally just tweak and publish it, after learning about the death of ZachSobeith.
involved with an amazing all volunteer, non-profit organization called VOICESOFHOPE. This past September, at our annual
gala concert at Jordan Hall in Boston, a male quartet performed the song “Live Like You
Were Dying” by Tim McGraw. They did an
incredible rendition of the song and it quickly became a favorite of both the
audience and our cast and is now one of our featured numbers. As I watched the YouTube video shortly after
the event, and again recently, in addition to marveling at what we have created
together and how incredibly talented my friends are, I was again struck by this
sentiment. These are the lyrics to the
first verse and chorus:
He said, "I was in my early forties with a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime
But I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talkin' 'bout the options and talkin' 'bout sweet time"
I asked him, "When it sank in that this might really be the real end,
how's it hit you when you get that kind of news? Man, what'd you do?"
said, "I went skydiving, I went Rocky Mountain climbing,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
And I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter and I gave forgiveness I'd been
And he said, "Someday I hope you get the chance… to live like you were dying.”
the song and its premise make me smile.
They also prompt me to think about what I would do if I found myself
in this situation. In some ways, I’m already
living my life this way because I have thought about this in the past and with
some consistency. It’s true for all of
us that our time here on this earth is limited; however, 'limited' is certainly a relative
term. Here's the thing I often grapple with
that I can never really figure out: What is that balance between living as
though I have significantly limited time, but knowing, at least at the moment,
I could have A LOT of time? To
re-state this question... How do webalance living full-out, being all of who
we are, truly experiencing our lives, and NOT living from a place of fear, with the
fact that we could easily need to support ourselves into our 80s or 90s. What is that optimal balance between living a
joyous and fulfilling life right now and responsibly planning for the future?
sorry to say that I do not have the answer, nor is there just one answer.
However, I do think it's an important question to ask ourselves and
the answer is different for each of us and is also dynamic; ask me today
and my answer would probably be different than if you had asked me 5 or 10
years ago, or 5 months or 5 years into the future.
WHAT I THINK
IS IMPORTANT FOR US RIGHT NOW:
Stay in the now, as much as
possible. And when you do visit the past
or the future, do so intentionally and limit the ‘trip’ to its intended purpose:
STOP living solely by your “to-do” lists. Although our lists certainly serve an important function, here’s the thing: YOU WILL NEVER GET ALL OF YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW! (Thanks, Rick Carson!)
Figure out how YOU are in your own way and frequently ask yourself: “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?” (Oh, and by the way … SO WHAT if you do?) ;-)
Take a good look at how you hold yourself back due to fear, whether it be of failure, success, change, risk… What if you weren’t scared? What would be different?
There are many, many ways that we can live more fully without spending money or taking financial risk. Here are a few: Simply smiling and making more eye contact with people, giving and getting more hugs, singing, dancing, getting out into nature, laughing big belly laughs, playing with your pets, or enjoying that ice cream cone you just had to have, instead of beating yourself up about it!
not trying to preach to you: this is truly
what I want for myself, for the people I love and for everyone. I
sometimes imagine what the world would be like surrounded by people who live
like they are dying. I think it would be pretty amazing.
you knew you only had 6 months to live, what is the first thing that
comes to mind that you would regret not having done?