“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
1.) Flip the Hourglass
Imagine you’ve just been told the date of your death. Flip the hourglass on Three: One… Two… Three! Now what? You know exactly the time you have left. So what are you about to do with it?
What if we counted our lives backward instead of forward? What if we counted down the years left instead of years lived? You would certainly be living more vigorously and with a sense of urgency, right? Who says we can’t live that way from this point on?
Technically, we are counting down. We just don’t know when our time is up. The idea of an expiration date makes you want to live for what you really want deep down, and include what really matters most. The crazier question to ask ourselves is why aren’t we doing any of it?
Stop, close your eyes, and reflect on the answer to every question:
• You suddenly knew that you had one minute to live. What would you do?
• That minute just turned into an hour, now what?
• That hour just turned into a day, a week, and so forth. What then? What would you do starting tomorrow?
• Where would you go? What would you change? Who would you surround yourself with?
• Are you getting mental pictures, feelings, and who is included in all of these answers?
• If none of that sounds familiar to your current life, why not? The question still remains, why aren’t you doing any of it?
2.) LIVE FOR TODAY
Time. We have so little of it and waste so much of it doing things we hate. Too many of us are tricking ourselves into believing were living a life that we always wanted for ourselves, but it’s not. The good news is that it isn’t too late. Start living now! Remind yourself often, as morbid as it sounds, that every day you are counting down instead of counting up.
Stop doing things you hate and start doing things that light up your eyes, that wrenches a smile on your face no matter how low you are. Own your responsibilities and live passionately in unison with them. Create a life you can love every day instead of enjoying it where the spare time allows you to. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is the life you’re dreaming of. The person with too much structure might want for less and the person with none will yearn for more. There’s no such thing as the perfect lifestyle, only the perfect lifestyle for you. The goal is to design the life that inspires effortless happiness and a warm feeling of content. It takes tiny, positive efforts each and every minute. If you’re alive, then it’s possible. Time is ticking. What’s your next move?
3.) “LIFE IS SHORT”
Ask the person who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. Ask the parent that lost a child. Ask anyone who knows they are close to their last breath. In the context of how healthy you may be today, it seems as if life may never end, but understanding even in our healthiest moments the phrase, “Life is Short” is as true as water is wet. Think about your age today and how fast it crept up on you from the feeling that just yesterday you were learning how to ride a bike. So I implore you to live! Live not in fear of death, but in fear of regret. Live with ferocity. Live with passion. Live to love. Live to enjoy. Live to feel. Just Live.
REMINDER: When sparked with desire, ask yourself, why not? If you don’t have a good enough answer that circles around life or death, then roll the dice. Odds are, the fact that you want to do it in the first place means that you’ll be happy to know at least you did it no matter the outcome. Instead of lying in bed that night angry with yourself for not being brave enough to even try.
4.) DON’T WISH FOR IT, CREATE IT
It’s not about what you did. It’s what you didn’t do. It’s every winking moment you weren’t doing things you wanted to. It’s the risks you were too afraid to take, and the dreams you failed to chase. It’s the things that you don’t do that will haunt you with every living breath until your last. If you want it, go get it. If you dream it, do it. If you’re tempted, try it. It’s not about winning or losing and it’s not pass or fail. It’s quite simply live or die.
All of us die; it’s just how we go about getting there. Don’t regret anything…never regret anything. Everything we do is for a reason. That reason is up to you, but never regret the things you do, just learn from them. Life is less about reaching a destination, and more about learning and growing. Every failure is a lesson and every success is growth. Do everything, do anything, just don’t find yourself regretting doing nothing.
Don’t allow yourself to start a single sentence from this moment forward with “I wish I would have…” Eliminate the word ‘wish’ from your future vocabulary. Let it be that today you live for what you wish to do tomorrow, instead of what you didn’t do yesterday. Don’t wish for it. Create it! Live until regret becomes merely a word you know the meaning of, not a feeling you’re familiar with.
5.) IT’S ABOUT WHAT YOU DO IN THE DASH
A gravestone has two dates on it “born on – died on” that little dash in the middle of those two dates is the only thing that matters more than the day you were born. That little dash represents every single day after you were gifted with your first breath until your last. It represents everything you are, were, and will be through your legacy. What will you choose to do with your dash? What stories will that dash tell? What legacy will you have created? Will it represent a life lived truly, happily, daringly, passionately, and beautifully, or will it just prove that you existed?
Ask yourself, will I live or will I simply exist?