But Are You Enjoying Your Life?Oct 26, 2022
I've been thinking about my own death a lot lately. The Stoic philosophers taught a very important lesson that has helped me get clear about creating an exceptional life - if you don't fall in love with your own death, you'll never truly allow yourself to live. I've been feeling this lately.
I've been rethinking how I want to live the remaining decades of my life. I've decided to work backwards and plan my very last thought. I want my last thought, right before my last exhale, to be: "That was awesome!" This immediately helped me realize that I've got some work to do. I started on that work immediately and am realigning my life accordingly. In this article I want to tell you what I've discovered.
Cleaning Up the Messes of the Past
Let's visualize together. Think about the unresolved issues of your past. Think about your relationships, experiences, traumas, challenges, obstacles, losses, all of it. Now think about each one of these as an open tab on your operating system, and every tab you leave open is a drain on your processor and the speed of your operating system. This metaphor is true. The more unresolved issues from your past, the slower your operating system speed - your effectiveness to create an awesome life.
One tab I had open was an unresolved relationship which didn't end in a great way, and the open nature of that ending served as an open tab for me. Occasionally, I thought about the ending, wishing it had ended differently. So, I messaged the other person involved, told them that I thought about them often and wished it would have ended differently. I asked for forgiveness for my part in the drama and told them that I loved and appreciated the role they played in my life. I thanked them for everything they did for me, and then I said a positive goodbye. Closure. I don't need a response. I have closure. That tab is closed. Now when I think of them, I don't think of the bad ending, but my part in asking forgiveness.
If you are human, you likely have many open tabs eating away at your processor speed. Some of these are unhealed traumas, resentments, or things you wish would have ended differently. Take time to clean up the messes of the past. We often try to avoid future pain which reminds us of past, familiar pain. When you clean up the past, you are automatically creating a more powerful future that will be awesome.
Stop Trying to Prevent Death
Most people aren't really living but trying to prevent death. You are going to die. 100% chance. Let go of the need to be safe and secure. You don't stand a chance to live forever. Living to avoid pain and seek out pleasure will keep you from fully experiencing life. Inside of you there is a purpose. Inside of you there is a vision, mission, or a "why" for your life which will benefit society. Cease living to survive and start living to create positive impact in the world. This will not always feel safe or comfortable, but this is where your ultimate fulfillment will be found. Make your life about making a difference, and you'll see that all your needs will be taken care of.
Focusing solely on the accumulation of wealth comes from a fear-based, survival impulse. Transcend that self-obsessed focus. If you make a big enough difference in the world, you'll accumulate plenty. When your priority is impact, and leaving the world better than you found it, you'll see that life will take care of you, and your every need will be met. Focus only on wealth, and you'll never have enough, and you'll never enjoy it anyway.
When you've made a difference and you get to your last breath, you'll know your life mattered. The world will be better because of you, I'm not sure how it can be anything less than awesome.
Enjoy Every Second
I know this seems like a lofty task, but why wouldn't you allow yourself to enjoy every second of your life? What sense does it make to reject, dislike, or even hate any second you are alive from now until your last breath? The only reason you wouldn't enjoy every second is because you want things to be different. At some point you wanted what you have now, and you still choose to not be ok. So why not be willing to be ok now? What sense does it make to reject now? By hating now and wanting better, does that make now better? Have you ever taken time to notice that it's only ever now? If not now, when? Have you ever allowed yourself to fully love right now?
Hopefully you really contemplated some of those questions. The mind wants to want more than it wants to have and enjoy. By only living for more, you're delaying happiness until a time that might never come.
In 100 years or 1,000 years, your body shape, your wealth, your legacy, your business, nothing will matter. So why stress over it now? Certainly, take steps to improve your circumstances, but you don't have to hate your life now to create a better life later. Enjoy every second.
At that last exhale, you might wish you would have enjoyed yourself more. You certainly won't care about your possessions.
Focus on allowing the remaining years and decades of your life awesome - each second.
Live Without Regret
I recently read an awesome book by Bronnie Ware titled The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. It was a powerful read. The author was essentially an in-home hospice care nurse, and spent the last days, weeks, and months at the bedside of the dying loving and serving them. They told her a lot about what they regret about their life. Here's what she shares:
- I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
- I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Look at that list and reflect on your own life. Are you setting yourself up for massive regret at your last exhale?
I am taking steps every day to make sure I clean up the messes of my past, to stop living to prevent death, and to enjoy every second of my remaining life. Will you join me on this campaign?
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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