Imagine that you’ve been feeling a bit off for the past few months. So, you decide to make an appointment with the doctor just to cover your bases and make sure everything is kosher. One appointment turns into two, and then a referral. You answer all the questions and take the tests they order for you. A couple of weeks later, the phone rings: “You need to come in right away.”
As you sit down and face the physician who is sitting comfortably behind the desk, the words “I’m so sorry” and “…about six months” are all that echo in the chasm of your being.
“This has to be a mistake. I still have five years until I can retire. I’ve done my time. I’ve worked hard. We’ve been saving everything we can to be able to relax and travel to all the places we’ve always said we wanted to go. I just need ten more years at the least. Five to finish out my career, and the other five to enjoy the decades of hard work. I’ve been waiting for this season of life where I can finally live. What do you mean only six more months?”
By this point, you are probably realizing that you haven’t been present enough in life to be the parent or spouse that you truly desired to be. As a parent, you’ve been saving the creating of memories for the upcoming vacations. As a spouse, you figured you would have time in retirement, when you’d be able to be together without any distractions. That’s why you sacrificed so much of your life over the years. You just need a few more years to make it all worthwhile. If you would have known your life would be over in six months, you would never have agreed to postpone your life to the future. How can you get the years back?
For far too many of us, a brief awareness of our mortality or a brush with death, is the only time when we consider the rareness and tremendous value of everyday life. The more rare something is, the greater the perception of its value. Of all the living beings on this planet, human beings possess something that no other being has; conscious awareness of our own impending death. It is for this very reason that humans have the ability to be conscious of the rarity and value of this thing that we call life. It is only when we value something that we treat it with utmost care and precision. Most of us, however, only give mental assent to our mortality. As a result, we live life as if our death was not a present tense possibility.
If you had six months to live, how would your day today change? How much time and energy would you spend on drama and arguing with others? Would you slow down and enjoy your meals and engage in meaningful conversations with your loved ones? Would you worry about the future less? Would you take that trip you’ve always wanted to take, and would you put the phone down a bit more? How about your work? Would you quit your job feeling that it is a waste of your valuable and limited time, or would you work even more diligently and with more focus knowing there is something of value the world needs you to leave behind? I think you already know the answers to those questions.
If there is one thing that I am passionate about, it is living. I am passionate about helping people live for a living, not simply for survival. There is nothing better than a life well lived to its full potential. In order to do this, I am convinced that we cannot wait any longer to live. We cannot wait for retirement, for heaven, for the weekend, or for the vacation. Living must begin today because we are not guaranteed that we have six months left to live. As a matter of fact, no one is guaranteed that they have the rest of the day. What is guaranteed, however, is that you have this moment. Learning to live in alignment and harmony with this moment is an inside job that the majority of people on this planet have not learned how to do. My wish and blessing for you is that you will learn the art of living for a living.
Jamal Jivanjee is an Amazon best-selling author, a podcaster, and a full-time life coach with over twenty years of experience. Learn more about Jamal, and his latest book “Living for a Living,” by visiting www.jamaljivanjee.com.