"The thought of having 37 days of time left on this earth frightens me. But not nearly as much as the act of writing what I would do with my last 37 days. You see I realized recently that the life I am living each day is nothing like I would want my last 37 days to be. My heart flutters and my stomach tightens as I struggle to articulate what I have been reluctant to let my brain process – though I have felt it in my heart for months.
At the point of knowing I had just 37 days, I’d reach out and cling to those dearest to me. I’d spend every waking minute with my daughters and the man who is the love of my life. And when another day had ended, I’d spend time watching them sleep and feeling my heart fill with joy for having shared more time with them. So, if I can articulate that so clearly, why am I willing to accept even one more day when that’s not a reality? Why do I continue to accept a life that’s only part-time with my daughters? Why don’t I put my full energy behind making what’s “real” my every day reality?
I’d learn to do just one thing at a time and enjoy the luxury of focus. I’d stop rushing between tasks. I’d skip checking email while fixing dinner. I’d never do laundry during conference calls with the phone on mute. I’d stop confusing activity with progress. I’d recognize the void in my life and not delude myself into thinking that a finished ‘to do’ list will satisfy my deepest yearnings. So what’s stopping me from starting tomorrow’s ‘to do’ list by never even making one?
I’d stop all business trips. In fact, I would admit that I hate them. (There, I said it.) I’d rather be at home fixing dinner, tripping over dogs, and dealing with bedtime issues. I’d relish being at home surrounded by those I love and not worry about the next deadline or project. I’d find a way to make a living while honoring my need for “home”. So, what’s stopping me from saying no to the next trip or another project when I am over-booked? What am I looking to accomplish ‘out there’ when the most important things to be done are right here at home?
I hope I have more than 37 days to figure this out because first I need to take on the fear that is blocking me. The fear that keeps me so busy that I miss what I should be relishing. The same fear that stops me from doing what must be done to make every day worthy of being one of my final 37. Ok, so I’ll ask again – what’s stopping me?"
My friends. By the time you reach your last 37 days, it’s too late to live the life you’ve always wanted to live.
A copy of Life is a Verb is winging its way to Frances. If you’d like to send your answer to the question, "What would I be doing today if I only had 37 days to live?," please email it. Those posted during this countdown to the official publication date of Life is a Verb on September 2nd, will receive a complimentary, signed copy of the book from me.