I’ve heard some desperately sad news over the past 2-3 weeks. Two people I know have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Awful news like this usually results in some self-reflection and soul-searching and I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, hence the title of this post.
In my utopian world, I, my family and my friends would all live until well into our 90’s and beyond. Clearly that won’t happen for everyone, so we really do need to live for today. If we don’t ‘enjoy the moment’ on a frequent basis, when will we? In saying live for today, I don’t mean throw caution to the wind, blow your life savings on the holiday of a lifetime, and subsequently leave yourself in real financial trouble. Great if you can afford to do those things but it is certainly possible to live for today whilst having one eye on the future. Clearly the vast majority of us hope that we’ll live to a ripe old age and there’s a need to plan accordingly for that, but why live a life where we put things off? Why live a life where we don’t devote our time to the things we know we should do more of? Why live a life where we let petty arguments and disagreements significantly shape our mood, or we sweat the small stuff on a daily basis?
Instead, why don’t we live a life where we:
- Are kind to ourselves and to others. But especially to ourselves, no matter how difficult that can be at times.
- Book that dream family holiday that we know we can afford but haven’t done so yet, for some strange reason.
- Tell your parents / spouse / siblings / children / other loved ones how much you value and care for them. Tell your kids how proud of them you are and how they make every single day of your life worth living. Tell your spouse that you love them more than anything and your life would be empty without them.
- Get outside, take in the fresh air, and marvel at nature’s beauty.
- Book tickets to that comedy or music gig you’ve had you eye on for a while.
- Join a community choir. It doesn’t matter that you’re a little apprehensive – deep down, you know you’ve seen quite a few over recent years and watching those people who are just like you sing with all their might really does make you smile and light a fire in your belly.
- Get round to doing that minor home improvement job you’ve been putting off for a while. You’ll feel better for completing it
- Take a trip to the coast, take in the sea air, and put your arm around someone you love as you watch the sunset.
- Find a healthy new recipe and make it. It’s easy to forget just how much satisfaction can be gained from cooking a really nice meal.
- Or, alternatively, binge on a bloody big bar of chocolate whilst watching your favourite boxset if you like. Just try not to do that every day of the week…
- Buy a bike, pair of running trainers, of small piece of home fitness equipment and put them to good use.
- Find the time to simply curl up in your favourite chair with a good book.
- Lavish a little more time on your pet/s. It’s scientifically proven that our furry friends have a habit of making us feel better when we devote time to them.
- Introduce your family to a favourite film, especially if it’s a feelgood movie. Spend some quality time together.
- Take more pictures? Start a family scrapbook / album, or a series of themed albums. It’s so easy to do and share these days, given the online options we have.
- Crank up your favourite song / playlist and dance around the house with gay abandon.
- Go for an open water swim. You just might love the invigorating feeling when you first enter that cold water.
- Make someone’s day by committing a random act of kindness. When you’ve done it, don’t tell anyone or post it on social media – no-one needs to know but you.
- Do some charity work, even if it’s just arranging a day’s volunteering for you and your work colleagues.
- Smile at strangers. My Grandad used to say ‘good morning’ to pretty much everyone he met in the street, or at least those who made eye-contact. A smile is so much more mood-enhancing than a frown.
- Start a new hobby. Something you’ve been considering for ages but haven’t started, potentially through the fear of thinking you won’t be very good at it. Chances are you’ll nail it. The first step is always the hardest to take…
The list could go on and on, and will be different for each and every one of us, though I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this could produce a list personal to them every bit as long as the one above, if not longer. Basically, what I’m trying to say is just do whatever it is that you want to do but have been putting off. Live your best life, whatever that may look like. Or, to put it another way, if you were to go to bed tonight and lie there thinking to yourself ‘I really wish I’d done that today’, do whatever ‘that’ is. Do it on a daily basis. Two of my favourite quotes which spring to mind right now are:
- One life. Just one. Why aren’t we running like we are on fire towards our wildest dreams?
- To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
Enjoy every hour; every day; every week; every month; every year. Please don’t live a life of regrets. Please don’t continually put off the things you really want to do until a better time arrives. You might just keep putting them off until it’s too late…
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe.
Best wishes and take care.