Does it take a death sentence to finally start living?

ImageMorrie Schwartz said it best: “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

How should we be living? Are some better at it than others? What qualifies as a ‘good life?’

Those who are provided warning ahead of time, often remark how they did not truly understand what was important in life before they were told they did not have much longer to live it.

Does it take a terminal diagnosis to fully understand how precious life is?

Must we all first be dying before finally living?

I don’t think we can fully grasp the awareness and appreciation that comes with being informed your time on this planet is limited. But do we need a medical doctor to give us permission to live before we finally decide to do so? In reality, aren’t we all living on limited time? Just because someone isn’t sitting across from you in a white coat giving you an estimated timetable of how many days, weeks, months, or years you have left, does not mean you cannot live as if, God forbid, this may one day be the case.

What if we spent our lives as if we were preparing for a theoretical doctor’s visit where we discover our time is running out?  For many of us, living with this mindset would generate different conversations, different actions, an overall different life.

Our smiles would be wider, our words kinder, our hearts fuller. A shift in focus from the everyday hassles to the everyday beauty we are often too busy to take notice of would change our perspective.

We all live on the same planet, yet we each perceive life on this planet differently. Essentially, our reality is not life itself but how we interpret life, the good and the bad. It is difficult to fathom how we all breathe the same air and look up to see the same sun, but yet, our perceptions of what goes on around us is so subjective.

This difference in perception is proof that we are in control of what makes a happy life and what makes a miserable one. If you have the ability to look at something in a negative, distaining light, you also have the power to look at with joyful, loving awareness.

So don’t wait for a death sentence to set a fire under you to start living the life you have always dreamed. Always bear in mind that we are not promised more than this day, this moment. We are all dying but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take advantage of every breathing moment to live.

To quote everyone’s favorite Shawshank Redemption quote,

“Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

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