My attention was recently drawn to an article in the newspaper about an individual who had been given only months to live and had decided to write down a list of activities he wanted to carry out before he died and then begun to participate in those activities that bought him joy.
I realised that for him, he had waited until his final months of living before he changed his world from one of survival to one of living in joy and happiness. As I continued reading he admitted that he had never given himself the opportunity to evaluate his life and question where it was heading, he had merely followed the crowd and continued along thinking that he had all the time in the world to do this later. Along the way he had lived in compromises and regrets and had prioritised his life in accordance to what society demanded-Achieving a respectable education, acquiring a steady paid job, settled with a wife and children, basically living life and doing whatever was expected of him.
It was only now that circumstances had forced him to re-evaluate his life and re-focus it in order to rearrange his priorities. Now after taking stock of his life he was living it to fulfil his wishes, doing the things he had never given himself the opportunity to do and living in a way as to bring him happiness harmony and joy.
He has even started writing a diary, sharing it on social media where it is attracting a huge number of likes.
What was really illuminating was that he wished he had more time to fulfil all his desires and that he regretted all the time he had wasted. He had started a bucket list and a crowdfunding campaign in order to highlight his plight and those of his fellow sufferers and he hoped that if there was a legacy he could leave behind it was to raise more funding for his particular illness so that in future others would not have to undergo the intense struggles that he had experienced.
It made me realise that at times like these it is as an opportunity for us to re-appraise our own lives and dispatch anything that no longer serves us so that we are living in a space of harmony and joy, instead of being forced into making changes so drastically. This is not to say that we can totally eradicate negativity from our lives, after all we need that as a pointer to guide us towards the things that we desire and be clear about the things we no longer see as fulfilling for us.
We may feel inadequate at times but when we give ourselves the opportunity to question on a regular basis, what we are achieving and if those achievements are worthwhile then we won`t have to wait until we are close to death and regret what he have not yet accomplished, or set out to accomplish. After all, all of us wish we were immortal, nobody wants to die. As Steve Jobs said, No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
So as we approach the end of one year and the beginning of another, we look to clear out the old and make way for the new and set out new goals or habits and sooner or later fall back into our old habits. Instead of waiting until we die, or waiting until the New Year to re-asses our lives, why not live a more purposeful and more positive life today.
My mother is and always will be an inspirational figure for me and she is the one I always admire. She often says “There are many famous people out there who have amassed wealth and fortune beyond their wildest dreams but to me it does not matter how famous or wealthy you are. It is the impact and inspiration that you give to anyone who comes into your space. If you can help even one person than your life has been worth living and that is a measure of true success.
So when I die I want to be able to stand up in front of God with my head raised up high to meet his gaze and to say to him ”I led a fulfilled life, I have no regrets, I was your humble servant”.
Let me do this before I die.