To die will be an awfully big adventure.Jun 25, 2023
To die will be an awfully big adventure.
— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I want to talk about planning today, but from an angle that I hope breathes some new life into the process.
There are two things that we know:
- Your life has begun. It began the moment you drew your first breath. Many people are waiting for conditions to be "just right" so they can start truly living. As you know, it doesn't work that way. Your life is already on. You're in it. It's yours.
- Your life will end. No one knows when or how. With luck, you will have a long, healthy, happy life with a lot of years yet to come. But there are no guarantees.
While many shy away from the subject of death because it's synonymous with loss, pain, and sadness, I think there's also a beauty to it. Embracing and accepting the finite nature of life can add richness and joy to the present moment. I can't know which sunset, hug, or tear might be my last, and each becomes sweeter out of that very possibility.
My father, who passed away in 2015, said that he always told us kids, "I love you." before hanging up the phone or parting ways because he never knew which time would be the last.
On what would become the final night of his life, I kissed him on the forehead before going to bed. My last words to him were, "I love you too." That exchange is one of my most cherished memories.
This past December, I went to my mom's house for the holidays and was working on mapping out my year ahead. When I told her the plans I was making, she said, "What would you do if this was your last year?" I think she was expecting an answer like... Go on a safari, or climb Mount Everest.
But, at that moment, her question hit me deeply, and I thought, "If I truly only had 52 weeks left, how would I spend them?" I was surprised by the answer!
I had a lot of projects I wanted to finish, including my book. But there were also many things I didn't want to spend my time on. It ended up being an exercise in what to remove from my life more than what to add.
This question has become part of my regular planning process, and I offer it to you as a valuable reflection question...
If you only had 52 weeks left, how would you spend them?
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