From the moment we are born, we start to die, and the process lasts our whole life.
You see, people die all the time from various causes, like diseases, car accidents, airplane crashes, wars – and we hear about these in the news every single day. And apart from these random unfortunate events that may happen to anyone’s life, other people decide to put an end to their life, before their time.
However, most of us in the western world, statistically speaking, have a high chance to not experience devastating events (like wars, earthquakes, terminal illnesses).
Most of us in the western world, have a high chance to die from old age. And till then, we will continue to live our lives normally, as we currently do.
Sure, we obviously experience dark moments as well as moments of joy, but in general terms, we continue a life similar to what we already have created.
Why should we want to change anything after all? It feels so comfortable to lie on the predictability of our daily routine.
The thing though is that most of us are not happy with our lives as we have currently set them. We are not really happy with our jobs, our habits, with the way we communicate and interact with our close ones, and we are not truly content with the way we treat ourselves.
And then I wonder
Why don’t we take advantage of the fact that most of us will die from old age?
Which means that there are plenty of years ahead of us to experiment, to try new things, to rediscover the life we have neglected.
Is it because that point in time seems so far away that we cannot even see it?
But let me put it in another way.
… and the process lasts our whole life
From the moment we are born, we start to die, and the process lasts our whole life. For some, it takes hours, days, weeks, months. And for some of us it takes 50 years to die, 70, 90, or even 100 years or more!
So, I feel that the question should not be about when or how we die, but rather when and how we live.
I believe that the answer to when is simple.
It is now. It cannot be any other time apart from now, as now is the only time that exists. So, the real question is how we live.
How are you living right now? Are you following what is deep in your heart, what is important to you?
And please let me elaborate it further with a thought experiment.
If you had to choose one of the following 2 options, what would you choose?
A – to live 30 more years in anxiety, depression and worry. To overthink situations and dreaming of the dreams that you haven’t caught and you will never do. To live in judgement of the past and waiting for the future that never comes.
B – to live 1 more year full of joy. To live 1 more year feeling content with what you have at the moment. To participate actively in every single moment, every single hour of the 6360 hours, that are left in your calendar, with the deepest love you have ever experienced.
Whatever you may choose, I have a simple contemplative exercise for you today – and actually, the time of this exercise matches perfectly with the new year which comes with a sense of a new beginning.
1 year to live exercise
I would suggest you set aside 30 minutes of your time for this exercise.
Today, I am asking you to create a list of the 5 things you would do if your doctor would tell you today that you have 1 more year to live.
The items in your list can be something tangible (like, I want to visit India), or it can be something intangible (like, I want to spend more meaningful time with my kids).
Remember, write down the 5 things you want to do before you die in 1 year.
I know that from the first glance this exercise seems pessimistic, but it isn’t. It will actually give you the clarity on what is important to you and the push you need to start acting on the things that matter the most!
The items of your list are the most important things in your life right now. And if you don’t take the actions to achieve them now, when would be the best time to do so?
Have a great new year everyone!