When I think about writing a post about having one more day to live, resistance hits me hard. Perhaps the topic itself is just too hard to articulate. Maybe thinking about what I would do if I only had one more day is so emotional that it’s easy to avoid the topic altogether. I can’t however ignore it. I think about this while I’m driving alone in the car. ‘What if today was my last day?’ I think about it when I feel angry at someone. This helps me release any anger I may have. I think about it when I’m staring at my kids faces before putting them to sleep at night. ‘If this was my last night with you, I would stare at you all night long.’ And… after our mini Earthquake the other night, it’s been heavy on my mind. When I think like I only have one more day to live here on earth, this puts many things into perspective.
One of my good friends, a writer at Let Me Out Creative, her and I have talked about the legacy we want to leave behind. I know this topic isn’t always easy to talk about, but it really is an important one. These profound, introspective conversations help us live our lives to the fullest, with meaning, and heart.
If we knew we only had one more day, what type of legacy would we be leaving behind?
What is it we want people, particularly our children to remember about us?
How did we live?
How did we love?
Who would we be surrounded with on our last day?
What impact did we leave on others?
How would they remember us?
Did we make a difference?
On my very last day, I picture conversations I would have with my loved ones, and those who have impacted me in some way. There’s so much I would want to say to them.
I wouldn’t be looking at my phone, half listening.
I wouldn’t be worried about my weight.
I wouldn’t be resentful, angry, or judgemental.
On the contrary, I would be grateful.
I would be grateful for this very day. I would feel blessed I had the chance to spend one more day with all of the people who mean the most to me .
I would sit on the top of the highest roof of a house with my dad. This is where he’s spent most of his life, banging shingles, so he could provide for us. I would hug him hard and tell him I’m sorry for judging him, and holding so much anger for far too long. I would tell him I know he did the best he could, and thank him for giving me this precious life.
I would stand in the kitchen with my mom, this is her favorite area in the house. I would tell my mom how much I love her and apologize for always being irritated with her. I would thank her for ‘teaching’ me, even though I always felt her way of teaching was harsh. I would tell her how grateful I was, yet I didn’t know how to show it. I would ask her to cook me all of the meals I grew up to, so I could taste them one last time, and I would ask her to ‘teach’ my daughters how to do the things she always tried to teach me to do.
I would cuddle up with my husband in the bed we’ve slept in all these years. I would thank him for making me laugh at myself, and encouraging me to never give up on my dreams. I would grab his face, pull him in close, look him directly in the eyes and tell him he’s my angel.
I would have alone time with each one of my daughters, doing one of their favorites things with them, and I would thank them for teaching me the true meaning of love.
In other words, I would eat, and laugh, and cry, and dance and stuff my face with pizza and sniff the faces of my children and husband, and above all, I would live. I would live my life to the fullest on that very last day. I wouldn’t be rushing around trying to conquer all the things I didn’t get the opportunity to do.
Instead, I would be surrounded by the people in my life who mean the most to me, who’ve impacted me in some profound way, whether big or small, and I would show them nothing but appreciation and gratitude.
It isn’t always easy to think about this, but I promise you if you do, you will begin to live your legacy. You will begin to love harder with more appreciation, gratitude, and life. So this year, perhaps the resolution should be living as if we had one more day, and working on the legacy we want to leave behind.
I’m going to hug my family a bit tighter this New Years Eve, and ring in 2016 with a heart full of nothing but love.