A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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Guest Blog: Do Not “Live every day as if it’s your last”
14 Sep
2019
By 2020Visionquest
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Mt. Moosilauke, group standing on the summit in front of an American flag on Sept. 11, 2011We have a powerful and important opportunity to make a choice in our lives, to deliberately and willfully escape the default settings of our own lives. Because we personally fell all of our own thoughts and experiences firsthand and immediate, they can far too readily take precedent over the more labor and time-intensive aspects of truly inviting the perspective of others. I am often seeking inspiration as part of my continued efforts to motivate myself in positive directions and on this year’s anniversary of September 11, I found a gem of a post from my friend Chris Jodblowski. I’m sharing it here, with his permission, because the message he delivers is an important and valuable demonstration of our choice to take the common, self-focused and obvious response to a situation differently. Thank you, Chris, for the insightful response on 9/11.


Guest post from: Chris Jodlowski

“Live every day as if it’s your last.”

You hear it all the time. The sentiment is well meaning enough, I suppose. I get the idea. Be positive. Be thankful for every breath.

It’s bullshit.

For real — how would you spend your last day on Earth? At work. Sitting in traffic? Running errands? Probably not. But that’s how you’re going to spend today. Tomorrow, too. Can you afford to spend today not doing those things? Tomorrow? This whole weekend? Now and then, sure. But not every day. It’s just not realistic. What if you gave it longer? Live like it’s your last week. Your last year? What are you going to do? Leave work? Quit your job? Climb a mountain? Move to an island? Just to “live” like… something that probably won’t happen?

No. You’re probably not.

In the days following September 11, 2001, there was more and more focus on the people who had been lost. Their stories. Their pictures. Their last messages. Were those people living that day like it was their last? Maybe. Probably not.

“Live each day as if it’s your last.”

It sounds nice But what does it really mean? Ice cream for dinner? Staying out all night? Is it just as simple as telling people you love them? Is that all you’d do?

“Live every day as if it’s your last.”

I don’t know what you think happens when you die. Maybe you think we move on to something or someplace better. Maybe you think it’s just lights out. Maybe something in between. I have my thoughts. I’m sure you have yours. But think about it this way — when you’re gone — when your last day is up — put down your thoughts about what happens to you and think about what happens to everyone else. You’re gone. They’re left behind thinking about you. And all the things they wish they’d said. And all the things they wish they’d done with you. Hell, even the people who didn’t like you have probably softened up.

“Live every day as if it’s your last.”

Bull. Shit.

Try something different today. Look at the people around you. Look at the people you love most. The people you don’t like so much. The people around you at the store you don’t even know. And treat them like it’s their last day on Earth. Look at them and think about them that way.

Look at the people you love as though you’ll go to bed tonight and never see them again. Tell them the things you want them to know.

Look at the people you don’t get along with so well and lighten up on them a bit. Wonder what you’ll find about about them when they’re gone. The things you wish you knew before. The things that might have changed your mind or made you see where they were coming from.

When you’re sitting in traffic or at the store or in line at the DMV, look at every person around you through that lens. If it was your last day, would you want to be cut off? Given the finger and cursed at? Looked at crossly? Or waived on through at the intersection. Helped with something you can’t lift or reach. Smiled at.

On September 12, 2001 and the days that followed, people treated each other like it was everyone else’s last day on Earth. Maybe because the day before actually had been for so many. Because we all still felt the sharp sting of reality that it really could be. Because so many of us held in our hands the fragile pieces of broken futures, fractured plans, shattered hopes and dreams.

“Live as if it’s someone else’s last day on Earth.”

Just one. Maybe a couple. Or go through the day thinking it about anyone you see. It’s possible it might be, I suppose.

“Live as if it’s someone else’s last day on Earth.”

Then think about how it made you feel. Probably better. Probably closer to how you’d want to feel on your last day.

“Live as if it’s someone else’s last day on Earth.”

Certainly enjoy your days as well. Enjoy all the parts. Feel alive. Watch the breeze blow over the grass. Feel a trickle of sweat run down your back while you work. Hear the crickets at night and try to pick out just one to listen to. Breathe. Smile. Love. Have ice cream for dinner if you want (but don’t do that a lot).

“Live as if it’s someone else’s last day on Earth.”

Try it once. Then try it again. If I did it and you did it and someone else did, that’s a pretty good start. Then let’s do it again.

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