Is there anything you want to do before you die?
I found myself contemplating this question recently as I watched a TED video of the artist Candy Chang. She shared about creating an interactive chalkboard mural in New Orleans entitled; “Before I Die, I want to…”
The wall invited people to write what they want to do before they die.
I ask my clients that same question because it’s too easy to speed through life. You’re in the fast lane with your great job, family, home. But is it actually what you want?
What would you like to do, see, become?
I don’t ask to be morbid. I ask to ensure that your compass is set straight. Orienting you toward what you really want.
I learned this firsthand in 2010, when I worked as a hospice social worker.
I was challenged to look death, life and pain square in the face. My patients were facing imminent demise and they all had at least one regret. The most common of these are:
1. To have lived a life more true to myself, not the life others expected of me
2. To have not worked so hard
3. To have boldly expressed my feelings
4. To have stayed in touch with my friends
5. To have been happier
Working at hospice taught me compassion and reminded me of the promise I’d made to myself as a twenty year old.
Back in college, my friends and I often read Henry David Thoreau. One summer, we even drove to Concord in the wee hours to skinny dip in Walden Pond.
I floated in that warm, velvety water, gazed up into the star studded sky and swore that I would “live deliberately.” I wanted to learn life’s essential lessons because I knew more than anything that I did not want to “come to die and discover that I had not lived.”
In 2010, I made a renewed agreement with myself to do just that.
What about you?
This is YOUR life to live. Be sure that you do everything you want.
How can you listen and respond to your heart’s desires?
1. Make a list of everything you want to do, experience, feel, become before you die
Some people call this a bucket list. Maybe for you, it’s simply a To Do List.
2. Start scheduling them right now!
Some are simple and easy, like phone calls to old friends, a visit to a relative. How about a romantic date?
Others might take some planning and saving. Could you go on a camping trip with the kids? How about an inexpensive cruise? Would you be willing to go back to school? How about writing that book?
Think about this as a way to re-orient yourself by making time for the things that really matter to you. After all, life is happening right now.
Those dreams live inside of you and yearn to be expressed. Take advantage of today and carpe diem! Please don’t be one of those people who come to die only to discover that they never really lived.
Be bold, be brave – get out there and enjoy!