People hear that statement every day from doctors around the world. And in an instant their entire life changes.
They realize what’s important and what’s nonsense.
They suddenly regret all the time they wasted on pettiness or trivial bullshit.
They regret not taking the time to do all the things they’d promised themselves they’d do, the skills they wanted to develop, the places they wanted to see, the people they wanted to help.
A lot of people go to holistic healers at times like these and they’re advised to stop doing all of the stuff that they hate doing and start doing what they love.
They’re advised to start painting that masterpiece they’ve always wanted to but have put off for far too long. Or they’re told to start volunteering at that children’s shelter they’ve been meaning to stop by and help out for the last few years.
The funny thing is, a lot of times the cancer goes into remission when people remove the stress and unhappiness and start doing what they love and are passionate about.
When the doctor tells you that you’ve got six months to live everything falls into proper perspective pretty quickly. I’ve never been told those words personally but I was in the room when they were said to my step dad, Ed.
At the time it had a profound effect on me and everything I did had more meaning than ever before. Every moment I spent, not only with Ed, but with everyone was cherished, because I knew that it could be my last.
But it’s easy to fall into the rut of the every day grind and lose perspective on things.
There are always a million things to do so you always stay “busy.”
There’s no time to sit down and enjoy a long conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee.
There’s no time for hobbies like playing an instrument or learning a martial art.
Everyone’s promised tomorrow, right? So what does it matter if you do nothing but stare at your phone when you’re supposed to be spending quality time with your spouse or playing with your kid at the park? You can make it up to him or her next time.
But what if there is no next time?
These days everyone and their mother texts while driving. That means you’ve got a lot greater chance of getting killed in a car accident today than you did twenty years ago.
If you’re reading this on your phone, in a car, there’s a decent chance you might not even make it to the end of this post. And I’m not joking.
No one is ever “in the moment” these days. No one takes time to appreciate the small things. They’re focused on what’s going on elsewhere- online, in cyberspace, tomorrow, at work.
They’re everywhere but present.
The reality, however, is that the present is all you’ve got.
So think about this, long and hard. Get out a notebook and write down your answers then give it some serious consideration.
- If your doctor told you today that you had 6-12 months to live what would you immediately stop doing?
- What do you do regularly that you have no passion for?
- What brings you down that should stop doing?
- Who brings you down that you should stop spending time with?
- What are you wasting countless hours each week doing?
- What things would you start doing?
- What have you always wanted to do or learn but put off because you were “too busy?”
- What friends could you reach out to more often that you haven’t seen or talked to in a while?
- What experiences would you want to have?
- Who would you want to spend time with?
- What would you want your legacy to be?
Really think long and hard about it. Don’t just gloss over it.
If you’re like me you have a pretty decent sized list of things you should stop doing and a list of things you need to start doing.
Some weak-minded people will claim that “not everyone has the luxury to do what they please, or has the skills to earn a living doing what they love,” or any other number of excuses.
But they’re just excuses.
Anyone can learn any skill they want and apply it.
The resources are there. You have free will and you can use it to choose the life you want or live the nightmare you don’t want.
The choice is yours and the clock is ticking.
PS. I’d love to read some of your answers to the questions above in the comments section. And if you liked this post I’d be greatly appreciative if you shared it with anyone you know who might enjoy it. Thank you!