If You Had Six Months Left to Live

Watching an episode of “Married, Single, Other”, I found myself sobbing and feeling so devastated by the story of Lily who is trying to tie up the loose ends of her life as she prepares for a shortened than expected lifespan. While the story is of course meant to be moving, why was I crying so much? The tears just ran down my cheeks like they do whenever I watch “P.S. I Love You”. Yes, that’s right, I’ve watched that movie more than once and I still ball my eyes out.

Thinking about it I realised that it isn’t just that it’s so horrible to think of losing or leaving behind loved ones. What both stories have in common is the feeling of living an unfulfilled life and then on top of that, losing the person you treasure the most. To me, both of these together bring up feelings of such hopelessness, loneliness and a life wasted.

What also occurred to me is that if this moves me so much, then perhaps I need to examine how I’m living my life. If seeing others suffer – from their recognition that they are living such unfulfilled lives – causes me such devastation, there must be an underlying fear that I am doing exactly the same thing. I know that in recent months I have made significant changes that are making me feel much more confident about my life choices, but I know I can do more. How about you?

If you had six months left to live how would you change your life?

Who would you spend your time with? Are you spending your time with them now? Are there ways you can plan to spend more time with them? Can you more fully experience and treasure the time you spend with them now?

What would you want to do more of? Would you travel? Is there somewhere you’ve always dreamed of going but for some reason have never put the plan into action? Would you spend more time outdoors, or expressing your creativity, or listening to music? Would you wake up earlier? Would you eat differently? Are there things you would want to learn more about? Are there activities and hobbies you would want to try?

What would you let go of and do less of? Would you still want to go to your workplace (maybe not all day everyday) or would you quit immediately and never look back? Would you watch the same amount of TV or are there more meaningful things you’d want to do with your time? Would gossip and drama still interest you in your everyday conversations? Would you spend as much time playing computer games and surfing the net? Would you still enjoy the company of the people you spend most time with now?

If you wouldn’t continue to do what you’re doing now if you found out you only had six months left to live, then why are you doing it now?

Sure you might need to work in order to plan for a hopefully long and healthy future, but do you have to do the work you are currently doing if you don’t find it rewarding?

If you don’t start to make changes now, then when will you? If you acknowledge that the quality of your life doesn’t reflect your vision of what it could be, then when do you suppose you will achieve an improved quality of life?

Don’t wait for a tragedy to be forced into rethinking your life.

Today, do less of one of those things that isn’t included in the overall vision of your life, and  do more of one of those things that is included. I know I will.