Live Each Day

Monday, October 1, 2001
The Flatlands


"There is something in human beings that craves impending doom. Impending doom confers a delicious sense urgency. 

"Live each day as if it were your last" is a common dictum, but nobody does a good job of following it. We get stuck in ruts, living our lives as slaves to ideals we can ill define. The dependable worker, the responsible parent. Not that I am criticizing either of these entities.

They just aren't enough. In some go-for-success sorts of do-it-yourself books, the question is asked, what would the reader do if they had only one hour/one day/one month to live and why is he/she not doing it right now.

Thinking like this is an effective way of cutting to the chase, crystallizing your values so that you know what is really important." ~ E.T. Goldstein


Online journaler Grace's description of a game she made up with college friends called A List of Fives was irresistible: "Turns out," says Grace, "It's a kick-ass way to get to know someone, especially if the answers are honest and thoughtful."

I was game. Honestly and thoughtfully, I played her game of favorites, coming up with what I would take or do if stranded on a desert island.

Coming up with my favorites -- my joys -- was a gift in itself and a welcome respite from these somber, uncertain times. My recollection of favorites that have brought me joy, love, and laughter served as an effective, therapeutic diversion.  

"Be joyful always," says the Good Book.  Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit. Coming up with these lists made me keenly aware of the bountiful joys -- gifts -- of this life. I smiled alot as I "played" this game.

The terrorism of September 11, 2001 forced us to face our mortality. These sage words took on greater meaning:

Cherish and live each day 
as if it were your last; 

cherish and live each day 
as if it were your first; 

cherish and live each day 
as if it were your only;

cherish and live each day 
as if it were your best.

Learn from each day 
as if you will live forever.

And love 
as if it were your first day in Heaven.

All of us, in a sense, live on death row, and it is possible for death to become our ally, advising us, telling us to contemplate what's really significant and what's not:

  • Have you ever wondered what would you do, if you knew today was your last day on Earth?

  • Likely, you'd spend time with those kith and kin (friends and family) who mean the most to you. Who would they be?  

  • Likely, you'd do those things that brought you joy in life. What are your Earthly loves, pleasures and pasttimes?  What brings you joy?  

  • Likely, you'd use every minute well and wisely.  What if you have only a vague idea of to do? Would you waste precious time just figuring out who you love and what brings you joy? 

With a timely premise, a version of the original game evolved. I call it: My Favorites.  Pondering one's eventual death need not be morbid.  To the contrary, My Favorites is a playful activity, likely even healthy for you.

I realize that the more I deal with the reality of death, the more fully I appreciate and enjoy my favorite people, places and things in life.  They become more precious to me.

Coming up with my favorites was self-affirming, enlightening, and even cathartic I am making each day count by consciously filling my life with my favorites that bring me joy.  My question is "Why didn't I do this before?"  

Perhaps by playing it for yourself, My Favorites will help you to stay positive and behold the joy-filled gifts of your life.

Life is fragile. 

Wisdom Of The Ages
Written by Giant, Baum and Kaye
Sung by Elvis Presley

Listen, to the wisdom of the ages
Listen, to the words of many sages

Live each day, as if it were your last
It's written in the stars, your destiny is cast
And that hourglass, runs too fast no doubt
For the sands of time are running out

Listen, to the wisdom of the ages
These words, can be found in history's pages

Live each day, for happiness can't wait
And love while you may, but heed the hand of fate
If the finger points, it's too late no doubt
For the sands of time, are running out
But the man who turns, and escapes somehow

Is the wisest of men
And to such a man, I'd bow

playing favorites | my favorites 1 | my favorites 2

"Life is a Gift."

Go about your days in joy,  with love,

Author Unknown

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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2001