Life is too short and we never know when the final chapter of our lives will come to a close. Some of us are fortunate to have some advanced warning that our days are numbered while others depart completely unexpected. If you find yourself in the first group, there is a silver lining to that cloud.
There’s a song by Tim McGraw called “Live Like You Were Dying.” It’s about a guy with a friend who finds out his days are numbered and chooses to use it as an opportunity to really live. Rather than sulk and spend his remaining days depressed, the man in this song pushes life to its limit. As the chorus begins “I went sky diving. I went Rocky Mountain climbing. I spent 2.7 seconds, on a bull named Fu Man Chu.” Most of us would never consider doing such activities out of fear of getting hurt, getting permanently disabled or even dying. Of course, when you’ve been given only weeks or months to live, these consequences seem like less of a concern.
The song continues about doing things like loving deeper, speaking sweeter and being more generous with forgiveness. When we know that we’ve got only a short time left, we no longer procrastinate getting together with people that we care about. We can’t procrastinate getting together anymore because there’s no longer a “next summer” or “next Christmas.” Also, those arguments that caused a relationship to go sour seem like a silly reason to not speak to someone.
The chorus ends with the line “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” I think those of us who get that advanced warning have that chance to make the most of the time we have left. Even though all of us have numbered days, there’s something about a doctor sitting you down and giving you the news that makes the reality set in.
So my question for you is what would you do if you found out that your days were numbered? How would you live life differently? What would you stop putting off? What new things would you try?
I took this attitude over the summer and I have to say this past summer was the best summer of my life. I was up until 2AM chatting with friends, watching movies and reading books. Then I was up at 6:30AM starting my day as soon as I could. While I worked hard, I played hard too. I made it a point to see the people I cared about. I went out. For the first time in my life, I did karaoke (something I love) all by myself in front of a huge audience of strangers. I loved and laughed. I shared more of myself. And I did ride a bull and lasted for well over a minute (okay, it was a mechanical one). But the point is that I lived life. And I fully intend to keep living my life that way until I take my very last breath.