Monday, August 31, 2009

Are you alive?

Live like you were dying.

Quite a few people have said those words, and written songs, poems, and musings about it. Even Ghandi said of his dumber things to say if you ask me. I've known a few people who were dying. They lived in pain. Mostly in hospitals. They got to realize they'd never see their kids grow up and get married. They had painful surgeries, and got time to think about all the things they now weren't going to get to do. Not the things lots of have on a go skydiving, or see the pyramids. Things like growing old with their spouse. Getting to spoil their grandkids, or even just getting to see their son take his first steps.

Even if its not a painful death, and doesn't require me to spend time in the hospital in my dying days...lets face it. If I "knew I was dying" I wouldn't go to work. Why bother, I'm going to be dead. I wouldn't bother washing the dishes...I might even skip the shower, I'll be dead, what do I care if I smell. There are so many mundane, day to day things that would cease to get done if you lived like you were dying. Think that garbage man is still going to come by and pick up your trash? Nope, he's dying, he's doing something else today.

I like the sentiment more, live it like you mean it. Or live life to the have only have one life, make the most of it. But lets face it, the day to day stuff still needs to be done by all of us that can't afford to have someone else pick up our socks, and walk the dog, and clean the tub. Isn't there something great to be said for the guy that still went to work everyday to make sure his kids have food, and a roof over their head? Maybe that mom isn't "living life to the fullest", because she's at home, taking care of her loved ones. Isn't that really more important then seeing Rome, or that "big career". Before you get your feathers all ruffled, I'm not bashing moms that have to work. I'm just saying, the ones at home are no less important then the ones in the boardroom.

There's always more we could be doing, and probably even more we should be doing. But I think we should take the time too, and appreciate the things we do. In martial arts, at the end of every session we always stop, and meditate for a moment and "feel good for our efforts today". So today I didn't become the next Chuck Norris or Jet Li, but I still learned something, and got a little better then I was. Wouldn't it be nice if we all took a few minutes at the end of every day to feel good for what we did accomplish? Give ourselves a little pat on the back, instead of thinking of what we didn't get done, or how much there still is to do tomorrow.

And once we learn to cut ourselves some slack, and like ourselves a little more, we can extend that to those around us. Maybe remember to take a moment every day to give a pat on the back to those around us, our spouse, our kids, parents, or even just saying an extra kind thank you to the person that held the door for you on the way into the bank. Wouldn't it be fun to just enthusiastically say something to the checker at the store when you're leaving like, "Thanks so much for your help today, I really appreciate you being here for me.", and then just smile and leave. One person can make a difference in the world, and we don't need to go cure cancer (though that would be nice), or end world hunger, we can change our attitude, and influence and infect those around us with just a few simple words and a smile.

I'd like to challenge everyone to try and take a few minutes every day, and just think about all you DID accomplish. Those little thoughts about, "Yeah, but we didn't do XYZ", kick them to the curb...just focus on the positive. It won't be easy at first, but I think we can do it, I'd love to hear from anyone willing to try, or does try, let me know how it goes.


4evernite said...

Very interesting post and one that will give us all reason to see the good we've done in a day instead of dwelling on what went wrong or what we didn't do.
You are right about the dying. It isn't something I'd want to live like I'm doing. While I do understand their meaning I think I prefer your suggestions of, "Live like you mean it" and "to the fullest."

Steve Julian said...

Okay that is something I would have not thought about. I know death. It stinks. No matter how dignified or how brave there are in the face of death, you would rather they not be there.
I do think that there is truth in many cliches or sayings. But we can always have different takes on things.


Rainysoul said...

Thanks to both of you. That's one of the reasons I had Steve Irwin as a "hero". He was one of those people that seemed to truly love what he did every day, and always tried to give it his all. I'm sure he had down days too (they didn't film everything), but he really seemed to love life. A lot of days, I feel like I'm just trying to get to the end of it.