Day 38 of 365 Tiny Changes
New Years Day is just a few days away. Last New Years Day, in the normal tradition of this day I placed a question to my life partner. “If you were given one year to live, what is the one thing you would need to do so that you would die in peace?”
The reader may find this question a bit morbid, but I have found that with my life partner I must give way to the dramatic if I want a definitive answer. He is fantastic at hedging. So what does he do? He turns the question on me, of course.
I answered his question immediately.
I don’t know where the answer came from. Given time to think about it, I don’t know that I would have even entertained this answer.
I am a list person. I list everything. I make a list for the grocery, a list of my plans for the day, a list of all of the steps that need to be completed for any of the rehab jobs I do...my answer has never appeared an any list I have ever made.
So why did I say it? Why would I want to do this thing? Oh, and by the way, it’s not an easy thing to do, especially if only given a year to accomplish it.
Maybe that’s the secret. If given a “drop dead” (literally) deadline, maybe we could all accomplish what would appear to be a life time of work. Given only one year “or else”, maybe we could all push aside our so called commitments and obstacles and just get the deed done. Maybe if we truly believed that our time was limited we would stop procrastinating and giving ourselves excuses for not accomplishing the things we know we were meant to do.
I think we all are afraid to die, so in the human tradition we ignore the things we don’t want to face. Let’s see now, if I’m afraid of death, I just won’t think about it, so it won’t happen to me...well at least for a very long time, until I’m ready for it...
The reality? We are all walking dead men, from the day we are conceived. It’s nature’s law. All living things must come and go. All living things must make room for the next generation. Our human capacity for putting off the uncomfortable doesn’t stop the inevitable. Nature will always win out.
I am not immune from this human flaw. I turned 50 this year. I have plans to live to 102. Yes, it’s on a list. Unfortunately, I have reality staring me in the face. In 2010, we buried a dear friend who died at the age of 54. My own sister who is one year younger than me is very ill, and in all honesty, I didn’t expect her to live out this year, but she has always been a stubborn person and is hanging in there with us, to the best of her ability.
For as much as I want to live to 102, the reality is, I have no clue what my last day on this earth will be. Very few of us do.
So what do we do about that? Here’s my suggestion, live, Live, LIVE. Decide what it is that you were put on this earth to accomplish, push away the obstacles, and get it done. Hey, if your still breathing when you’re finished, pick something else, and do it, too.
Just imagine, if every one on earth were focused on their one true purpose, where the world would be right now. Are you ready to step forward and make the world a better place because you lived here for a while?
Oh yeah. What was my answer to my own question? I would write a book about living fearlessly, and do speaking engagements on this same subject.
Obviously, I’m banking on living longer than a year, because I haven’t even started writing the book, much less preparing for the speaking engagements. Let's just say I'm in my research stage by working on actually living my life fearlessly.
Founded or unfounded, fear is what holds me back from being the best person I can be. I'm discovering it's the littlest fears that seem to have to most debilitating affect on my life's success. You know, the ones that start with, "What if...". These tiny changes that I’m committing to each day, are my way a working through my fears.
Tiny Change 38: Write a complete list of fears I suffer from. Work them into the daily tiny changes, as I am ready to face them.
If you could live fearlessly, and had only one year to accomplish your life’s purpose, what would you do?
Tiny Blessing of the Day: I am blessed to have all of my siblings still alive and sharing my life with me.