A friend of my mother’s recently passed away. It was all very sudden, and by all accounts she was a vibrant and healthy 62 year-old. My mother, who was widowed before she was 50, is shaken up every time a friend or loved one gets sick or dies.
“I have to do things now,” she always says. “I might not be around otherwise.” A sobering thought, but it has also given my mother a new energy about living and experiencing life to the fullest. She travels to far-off places she wants to see, and has chosen to work in an environment that gives her the flexibility to spend time with friends and family that are important to her. She may not be financially wealthy, but she is richer than many people I know.
Whether we are 20 or 90, we will never really know when we will die. And yet day after day, we do the mundane and the expected, thinking that one day when everything is “perfect”, we can get started on making our dreams come true. It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on this 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 were the last.
Steven Covey, who wrote the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has endorsed the “eulogy approach” in his writings to bring to light what people would most regret if they waited too long to achieve their dreams.
What would your eulogy read if you died today? “He wanted to ________, too bad he died before he could do it.”
I’m not saying drop everything and be irresponsible, but everyday we make dozens, even hundreds of decisions to do or not do certain things. The choices we make, no matter how trivial they may seem, contribute to creating a life that is more (or less) fulfilling. The decisions we make move us toward our dreams, or they move us away.
It’s never too late to work on your dreams. What are you waiting for?
You might just achieve them, and wouldn’t that be wonderful.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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