Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
Pope Paul VI
A friend recently wrote about attending the funeral of a dear friend at the end of last year. Reading her post I was moved and sobered by her loss, the passing of one so young, and the very gift of life itself.
Death forces us to sit up straight and pay attention. It makes all the little things, well, look just like little things. It gives us perspective. It’s a sharp hit of reality that forces us to focus on life. A death at a time of year when many people set resolutions and goals is particularly poignant.
How often do we hear that life is short? It is. It’s too short to live with regret. To live with fear. To live small. Life is too short not to express ourselves fully, to feel deeply and to enjoy being crazy and daring and doing the things we love.
I wrote recently of setting some goals and creating a love list for the year. I’m going to hike a mountain, swing on a trapeze, I’m going to go to the beach and walk in the forest more often. I’m going to meet friends for lunch and take my husband out, to a different restaurant, each month for dinner. I have plans for the year. My plans are my way of living. Of making life fun. Of honouring the lives of those I love who have lost theirs. But you know, I was thinking, as I was reading my friend’s blog, that to really honour our own life and the sweet beauty of it, we really ought to focus on giving stuff up too. I’m not talking about sugar and alcohol or cigarettes or whatever your vice might be. I reckon we need to give up guilt and shame and negative self talk. We need to free ourselves from the rules that have bound us, that have hemmed us in. We really ought to rewrite the rules of our lives and live on our own terms unrestricted by those old limiting patterns and beliefs, of the pointless merry-go-round of self sabotage.
The reality of our finite existence sometimes comes with the tragic loss of loved ones. What better way to honour the lives of those who have lost theirs by honouring our own. Go ahead and make this year your best ever. What will you start doing, stop doing and do more if?