Friday, March 12, 2010

Today Is a Gift

Quite often when you read or hear about someone who has received a devastating prognosis from the doctor, along with that difficult news you might also hear or read about their positive attitude and making a deliberate choice to live each of their remaining days to the fullest. They choose to begin saying "yes" more often to their kids requests, they choose to enjoy life more and worry about the little things less, and they tend to pro-actively determine to leave their loved ones with a positive legacy of love and fond memories.

I can't even count how many times I've read that or heard that taking place when someone is finally facing their mortality. In general, it seems to take the harsh news of "you're not going to live forever" to get us to truly consider what is important.

The other day I posted on twitter: "today is a gift, what will you do with it?" That status update posted at both twitter and facebook, and only 2 people responded. I know plenty more than 2 people read it, but I found it curious that only 2 people responded.

I really don't know why we wait until we are faced with our impending departure in this life to truly begin considering what kind of legacy we're going to leave. Maybe it's because we are in a sort of denial and don't really like to think about the fact that we're not going to live forever. Maybe it's because like the old Cat Stevens song "the new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu, but it's been sure nice talking to you dad". Maybe we just get so pre-occupied with the minute, day-to-day stuff that we forget to look past that and consider what kind of life we're really living. Maybe there are a million other little reasons we live and think this way, I'm honestly not sure.

One thing I am sure about, is that we don't have to wait until the 11th hour to start living with genuine purpose. Sure the bills need to be paid and yes the lawn needs mowing and the dishes need washed but what are we really doing with our time when all the need-to-be stuff is done? Are we sitting on the couch watching tv when we could be going for a walk with the kids? Are we sitting at the computer wasting time doing something unimportant when we could be doing something productive? I'm sure there are bazillion different ways we all waste time. I can think of several things that I do during the course of the day that could be considered time-wasters. How about you?

The thing is, if today is in fact a gift (and trust me it is - not a single one of us has any guarantee we'll be here tomorrow, next week or even an hour from now) then what should we be doing with it?

- Is there an unresolved, messed up relationship in your life you need to repair?
- Is there someone you've been meaning to call or visit?
- Is there a project or a function you've been putting off doing or attending?
- Is there something you've been meaning to say to someone that you haven't said yet?
- Are there promises you've made that you haven't kept yet?

I think if we're all honest, one or more of those things is in current "pending" status in our personal lives. Today is indeed a gift, as is tomorrow, and each and every day you and I wake up. I've begun determining every morning to remind myself of that and make a genuine effort to make my days worthwhile to the people who matter most to me. My only regret is that it took me 45 years to really grab hold of this. I'm not waiting until I hear some bad news (if I ever do), I'm starting now.

How about you?

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