“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” Marcus Aurelius
A revised cliché has come to mind in the last couple of weeks: What if today was not “the first day of the rest of of your life,” but what if it was “the last day of the rest of your life?”
I wonder what I might do in such a situation. Well, let’s say it is not the last day, but let’s pretend in was the last month of the rest of my life. This is not a hypothetical question. People with terminal illnesses face it on a daily basis.
So, I wondered… what would “I” do? At first, I came up a whole lot of “things to do.” Then it quickly occurred to me that those to-dos were “my” preferences and why should any reader care about what I might do?
Not “What Would You Do?” but “Who Would You Be?”
The better question might not be “what would you do if you had one month to live,” but “who would you be if you had one month to live?” I think the answer to that question may be found in what you consider to be the essential virtues of your life today.
Personally I hope I would choose the virtues of kindness over the instant gratification of self-centeredness. Would I love a Ferrari? Absolutely, but after a couple of hours I fear the joy would wane. I think the same is most likely true of any “thing” I might desire.
So what is it that might be my driving value or virtue? One words feels like it sums up all my feelings in this matter: Peace.
Whether it be the last day, the last month, or the last whatever, nothing seems more important to me than peace: peace with family and friends, peace with myself, peace with my world, and peace with God. It has to do with giving up my selfish desires and giving in to the needs of others.
Then I can follow Marcus Aurelius and “begin to really live.”
What about you?
At the End of Your Day
What One Word Makes It a Good Day
Photo courtesy of R.M. Nunes at istockphoto