“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs
I can be so backwards at times. Thinking about death is not my most exciting pass time. Honestly, it scares me, although I know that it is the one equalizing factor of humanity. So with the thought of death, I am also inspired to live; simply let go and be free. I wonder what I am afraid of and consider what I have to lose, because then again I only have one life to live (or at least that is what they say). Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just activate my super wings, run to the edge of my dreams, and just fly… without fear.
What I have come to realize is that the question “what do you have to lose” cannot really be answered. Well at least, personally, I cannot. I have no idea what I might lose if I lived each day fearlessly. I might fail, lose friends along the way, be criticized without cause, never be a great parent, forget to enjoy the journey, choose the wrong goals, or any number of other things. Either way it is a gamble. Whether I live freely or live a limited life, it will all still come to an end.
People often laugh when I say that no one has died and come back to tell us how that experience went for them. I once heard that death is an aspect of life that requires the most faith; faith that there most be more than this life. If someone could just tell me what it is like, I would probably feel more free to live this one. I have heard the story in church about the “heavens” but no one has lived there and written a national bestseller on that other world. If I find out what I did on earth matters after this life, living fearfully might leave me with buckets full of regret. However, if I live a fearless dream-filled life and find that it never mattered, I would have only lost living a great-life filled with happiness, dreams fulfilled, satisfaction, purpose, and passion (which is not that bad of a life). I guess, I am starting to realize that I rather find out I did not need to live such a big life, than have regrets of the greatness I could have lived. Maybe true faith is trusting that the life God put us here to live is meant to be lived in light despite the unknown risks. Then again, isn’t faith believing in the hope of what we are not able to “see” or envision? Since we do not tend to hope for what we already have or can easily obtain, within the concept of “faith” it sounds to me like dreaming big is encouraged, if not required.
I am finding my balance of fearlessness, meaningful living, and child-like fun. This is life; uniquely painted and perfectly experienced by us, in ways particularly directed for us. But, we can only paint it, experience it, or create it if we are willing to take it with the risk attached. So, let go, find a lane, buckle your seat belt, put the peddle to the metal, lift off, and soar.
Cheers to living a bolder, “bigger” life.