The thought hit me when Marla Singer from Fight Club said, “My philosophy in life is that I can die anytime, but the tragedy is that I don’t.” To say that it has changed my life is an understatement. It cracked me, beat me, and flipped me like an omelette is how I would put it. Let’s be realistic. You can die anytime. There is no way you will know when it will come. Though some fortunate ones, like people with old age, terminal sickness, or death penalized, they are the enlightened ones with regards on how everyday must be spent. But for the rest of us, young and healthy, we are as ignorant as we are in denial about the capricious nature of death.
Regardless of the subjectivity of happiness and meaning, I find it important that everyday must be spent as meaningfully as if it were your last, and survive tomorrow if it isn’t. So in no particular order, I will share with you the gift of knowledge on how I finish my day feeling complete and satisfied.
1. Work for today
Living a meaningful last day in life doesn’t mean you skip work and have a “The hell with it” attitude towards it. Work is a necessary element in life, from our present get-filthy-rich mindset as it has been since the stone age. Money is important. People who say otherwise have yet to live without it. With that being said, work is a necessary responsibility in life. But it is crucial to understand that work is not an end, it is a mean to something greater in life, to get you to your dreams, big or small.
2. Achieve goals
Setting goals make living meaningful in trying to achieve them. Find something you are truly passionate about. Set long term goals but divide them on short term ones. It is important that everyday becomes a success. You want to travel? Slowly set aside money for it, read about the place, plan as if you were leaving tomorrow until you actually are. Want to write a book? Write a few sentences everyday and you’ll be surprised that you might just finish a book faster than what it takes a published author with undisciplined work ethics.
3.Make people you love know it
I always hear in people who’ve lost loved ones say how “I wish I did more.” Its not rocket science, let people you love know how you feel for them because you might never get the chance to do it. It doesn’t mean overdoing it everyday. I still argue with my parents, but every night I kiss my mom good night, and give my dad a big hug. I spend time with them, but just enough that I still have enough time for myself. Or I may disagree with people I love, but I will not fall short on what I can do that I am comfortable with for them. Overdoing it will burn you out. What’s important is you give enough of yourself to them that if either party ceases to exist tomorrow, there will be no regrets.
4. Smile often
This is pretty easy. I would not spend my last day, and therefore any day, with a frown. Smiling makes life lighter despite of whatever situation I’m in. Remember to catch yourself when you’re stressed, pause, and smile. It doesn’t take the problem away but stressing out with a smile is better than stressing out with a frown. Have you ever been smiled on by an innocent looking stranger and remember how there was suddenly hope for the world? Smiling is contagious. Smile often.
5. Eat well
I’m not talking about going organic or ceasing to eat animal protein. Sure, being healthy is important but one thing I learned early on in life is that happy people live longer than healthy people. When I say eat well, eat whatever that satisfies your craving but keep in mind the consequences. Understand that binging doesn’t make eating fun. Take time to enjoy every bite. Make eating an art by not making it simply about consumption but an experience. A wonderful lunch can easily transform the mood from a morning of hustle and bustle, and don’t get me started talking about the pleasures of dinner. Even Jesus had wine for his last supper.
It is scientifically proven that exercise releases happy hormones (chocolates too, but that’s for number 5!). It doesn’t have to be a strict routine. Remember that the only wrong workout is the one you did not do. There is an instant gratification in exercising. Though parts of it may just be a lie, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even when in front of the mirror.
7. Sleep well
You can’t YOLO this one out. At the end of the day, it is of most importance to get a really good, quality sleep. It is where I get the energy from which I make meaningful days from. And if it is the moment that caps my meaningful life, then it is nothing but the most beautiful sleep.
The only thing that beats a well spent last day on Earth is to have another one. Another chance to fulfill, and achieve. To eat more food and feel good. Another day to express love, and to smile. It is not wrong to look to the future but never confuse the present with anything other than what it is, a gift.