This may be the last time…

In the afternoons, I sometimes grab a book and walk to the local coffee establishment where I order my latte and continue on to the park across the street with plans of sitting in the sun and reading a bit. On my journey today, I noticed an ambulance and fire truck in the parking lot with lights flashing. On the ground was a man who had been strapped into a device that was compressing his chest in an effort to revive him. I am not sure of the final outcome but found myself deeply affected. What should have been an enjoyable walk in the park on a sunny day unexpectedly ended up in a trip to intensive care or worse.  Whoever this man was, someone was waiting for his somewhere. And he today was not going to arrive.

I realized that this unfortunate turn of events can happen to anyone, anytime, for no apparent rhyme or reason. One minute all systems are go and the next you are down for the count. And how many of us can say that we have our life in order to the smallest detail should the unexpected happen? What “things” do we still have to do, what bridges do we have yet to mend, and what dreams do we have left to achieve?

If today were to be the last time did you take care of what really matters, what is truly important to you, what gives you the most pleasure in this life? And if not today, when was the last time that you:

  • Kissed your spouse and said you love them
  • Praised your children
  • Watched a sunset, not just catching a glimpse but sitting through the complete event
  • Told your parents that you love them
  • Laughed like you meant it
  • Did something nice to a stranger for no reason at all
  • Scratched your dog or cat behind the ear in that special way that only you can
  • Listened to the waves breaking on the beach
  • Made someone laugh at a joke you told
  • Told that special Aunt just how special she really is
  • Smiled for no reason at all
  • Listened without judging as a friend shared their private concerns
  • Were thankful for all that you have

We hear about the importance of living in the present moment. We talk about getting it done now. We understand that there is “no time like the present”. But do we really get it? I know that I am guilty of getting caught up in the whirlwind of life and too often missing opportunities to do what really matters. The days and weeks suddenly blur into months and years. How can we learn to STOP and slow down and realize that time is fleeting and life is precious? What can we do to just take advantage of each day?

It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


7 thoughts on “This may be the last time…

  1. Beautifully said, Dave. A recent post I read somewhere talked about the present -future conflict. We live in the present but spend much of our time thinking about the past and worrying about the future.

    Your post tackles the same subject but from a very different perspective. You make it obvious what the emotional cost is of such a mindset can be. Making the time to do the things you listed should become a must-do each day, instead of a “maybe I’ll do if I am done everything else.”

    Over the past few years time has accelerated to the point where I could swear a week only has three days anymore. Doing what you suggest can’t stop that flight of time, but can make it more memorable and special.

    Your post makes it clear that my life could end at any moment , so I have no excuse for wasting the moments I have right now.

    • There is a saying I refer to often, like each morning before I get out of bed:

      Waking up, I smile 24 brand new hours I vow to live fully in each moment and look at all beings with the eyes of compassion

      not a bad way to start the day…

  2. Great post, Dave. You hear people say that getting cancer or some other life threatening illness was “the best thing that ever happened to me” because they suddenly realize how precious life is and they begin to see they should enjoy each moment.

    You’re right-especially the older we get, the more the odds are that we could drop dead tomorrow or even get a grave illness. While we don’t want to live in fear and worry of this happening, I think it’s best to enjoy and be grateful for each moment we do have instead of worrying and planning so much.

  3. Wow!
    How easy it is to forget how little we control. I try to remember to enjoy and live each moment but I have spent a lifetime rushing for some future. Now I can see the future and I am not in such a hurry. I am trying to slow down and savor the present.

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