Tad morbid for a Monday. Really though. Think about it for a minute.
You are chug-chug-chugging along trying to get everything done on your to-do list and hoping that people like/respect/appreciate you (I know I'm not alone spending a chunk of perfectly good energy on that). And then what?
Then you get hit by a bus.
It probably won't be a bus, but let's sidestep the how-it-happens part which will quickly turn into how to buy yourself more time. That's a better conversation for your doctor, personal trainer and infomercials.
As your coach, I'm more interested in the what-you-do-about-it.
The end will come at some point. What if you knew for a fact that it was tomorrow?
For our purposes, assume that time and money are no object. You can go anywhere, do anything. Also assume that your financial and legal affairs are in order (if they aren't, you may want to add them to your actual to-do list).
When I posed this question to myself, there was immediate clarity. It was as if a line was drawn between what deserved my attention and noise.
There was still a list of things I would do. I love lists. You better believe that on my last day I would be checking them All Off.
It was what I put on that list that clarified.
I thought for a while about past relationships. Is there anything I need to say? Friends' faces flashed through my mind. Who would I most like to see? I surprised myself with not needing to travel anywhere. Being home, in one place, surrounded by love was all that mattered.
Absolutely, no doubt about it, I would write.
Absolutely, no doubt about it, I would take photographs.
I might bake cookies.
Instead of running through my thought process, I'll skip right to the list. I expect yours in return!
"If I die tomorrow I would..." To-do List
- Call my family, and tell them I love them.
- Invite 10 friends (yes, I listed their names) over to drink wine and laugh.
- Email nearly every address in my Gmail account to say goodbye, and that I love them.
- Go on a long walk somewhere peaceful.
- Look up a lot. Take in every cloud, tree, bird, flower, lady bug.
- Enjoy the feeling of deep, full breaths.
- Wear the most comfortable clothes I own.
- Hug people without letting go.
- Write about what my life has meant to me.
- Take photographs.
- Throw out anything embarrassing, like old journals, and leave the rest to be handled later.
- Bake cookies. Optional, though if it happened there would be a dance party in the kitchen.
- Make my bed. I'd like to end tidy. Unless I'm dying there, in which case I would use my favorite flannel sheets, and gather every pillow I own and any stuffed animals still in my closet.
That's it? I think so!
While going through this exercise, I felt sad about the sunrises, seasons, and people I would miss, and I grieved even more about not being ready. I would love another day. That list is also getting built, and it's called, "If I had more time I would...." On it are to buy more pillows and to cuddle up by a roaring fire.
Shockingly, I didn't feel regret. I keep asking myself about it, as a matter of fact, but the clarity of this being my last day turned that question into noise.
Having One Day means there isn't time to think about anything that doesn't bring joy. I guess that's my hope for this exercise, that we're all more aware of what matters and able to let go of the noise.
Hug longer instead of being afraid I'm making people uncomfortable (prepare yourself), and wear comfortable clothes all of the time. Take a quiet walk now. Write every day.
I hope my life doesn't end for many years to come, and I hope I am delightfully surprised by the incredible experiences I will have between now and then.
And if I do have only one more day, at least I have my list.
Now it's your turn.
- What's on your "If I die tomorrow I would..." To-do List?
- What are your Absolutely-No-doubt-about-it's, and how can you do them more now?
- What really matters to you, and what's noise?
Comment below with your answers, share in our Facebook Group, and post them next to your daily to-do's so you can see what really matters and what is just noise.
Wishing you the best last days for a long, long time to come.