What would you do differently if you knew that in one year you were going die?
Seventeen years ago I had an idea that sparked a fire inside me and led me to write one of my first fiction books titled BEFORE I DIE: A PACT. The premise was simple:
If you knew you had only year left to live, what would you do differently?
What changes would you make?
What opportunities would you take?
In the book best friends Renata, Saffron and Charlotte make a pact to end the discontent in their lives. Ending the pain is simple: after their proposed last year on Earth they plan to take a plunge off Deadman’s Cliff.
Their reasoning is even simpler: if by age thirty a person hasn’t sorted herself out – and it was pretty obvious the girls hadn’t – chances were she never would.
So the countdown is on. In this novel, the friends have the complete freedom to do whatever they wanted over a period of twelve months; all with the knowledge there were no limits because pretty soon they wouldn’t exist in this world.
It was a crazy concept but it makes me wonder now: what would I do differently if I had only one year left to live? Would I stay in the same city? Would I write more or write less? Who would I want to see and speak to one last time? Even more importantly, what would YOU do differently if the same case applied to you?
The scary thing is none of us know what is around the corner. We may not even make it to the end of the year. We spend our days as though we have countless more up our sleeve, when really who can 100% confirm that is true?
I encourage you to write down a 12 month bucket list. Not because the end is near but because life is too short and NOT LONG ENOUGH to keep delaying the things you love or want to do in this lifetime. Want to go skydiving? Give it a go. Want to catch up with a long-lost cousin? Give her a call. Have a business you want to start? Then just come up with a plan and launch it.
In 12 months’ time you can write a new list with even more exciting or quirky goals. Then again in the future you can revisit your bucket list and make revisions to it as you find necessary.
The truth is this: sometimes it’s only when we know that our time is limited – and guess what it is! – that our lives has renewed focus, that we start to work out when our passions are and that we really begin to live.
Some of the things we decide we want to do will seem crazy or nonsensical or too simple but that’s okay. We are all humans with different wants and needs therefore our goals will all be different.
We just need to keep in mind that life is meant to be lived. We need to take chances and try to grab every little piece of happiness we can latch onto because who knows how much time we have left on this beautiful place called Earth?
Make every day special. Make every minute and hour count. You don’t get to retrace your steps or press a rewind button to fix your mistakes. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Right now is the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be again.
You do not have the luxury of spending this precious time badly. None of us do. “Someday” may never come so why are you waiting for this distant, unclear moment in the future to begin chasing your dreams?
Make the choice right now to be happy, to grasp all the opportunities within your reach and if they aren’t obvious or visible to you, go out and create them.
Make the choice to play again, love again, dream again and live again today. Break the rules if you have to, learn to forgive quickly, laugh freely, love deeply, feel blessed for what you have and never regret anything that made you smile, if only for a moment.
As Mandy Hale so wisely said: Happiness is letting go of what you think life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.
And it is what you make it.