Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. –Steve Jobs
I was thinking about this quote this morning as I walked my dog. I often hear people say or write things along these lines, the often repeated “Live each day as if it is your last.” But honestly, does anyone live that way? How realistic is that? And what does that even mean?
This was on my mind after hearing from my wife, who works in the ER as a nurse, a story about a recent patient. The was patient was young and healthy, but after a small scratch and a freak infection they passed away quickly.
It’s obviously a horrible and sad story, and thankfully a fairly uncommon one. But it did hit me when she shared it, and even more so this morning on my walk. I don’t know how to live each day as if it were my last, but I did find myself really appreciating this day, my life, on my walk. The way the sun hit my face. The way the cool, wet, morning air felt coming through my nose, down to my lungs, and into my body. The way the incredibly green leaves sat against the blue, blue early spring sky. The great Sunday I shared with my wife, my sister, my nephew. There are things in my day, in my week that perhaps would normally sit in my throat as an anxious lump. Not today. I felt it melt away in the appreciation on my walk.
I know you won’t feel that way all the time. You can’t. There will inevitably be a return to worrying about bills, about work, etc. But I’d sure like to find more moments in my days and weeks to make “things” melt. Maybe that’s what it means to live each day as your last.