Live Like You Were Dying

Love like there is no tomorrow,
fight poverty and injustice,
and seize today’s adventures

Last year I was driving along and listening to the (country) song, “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw and singing it with all my heart. I felt like those words are a core part of my motto, “Be all that you can be.” The lyrics for the chorus are:

I went sky divin’
I went Rocky Mountain climbin’
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying
And he said someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’

See full Lyrics by Tim McGraw

I confess my first association with “Live Like You Were Dying” was with activities like “sky diving, rocky mountain climbing,” traveling, etc. However, when I’m on my deathbed, assuming I even get the chance to ponder my life, I’m not sure I will be grateful for all the adventure-type activities, and I doubt I will be regretful of any such activities missed. However, the answer isn’t as simple as that. Perhaps there are three perspectives on a life that “Lived Like You Were Dying”

  1. When I can no longer go sky diving, will I regret not going; will I regret not visiting every country in the world, or visiting the Palawan Island when those activities are no longer possible? While I may still have many years of life left, at some point there will be things that I wanted to do but I can no longer do. Will I be disappointed that I didn’t do some of those things?
  2. My heart breaks at the extreme poverty and injustice at the margins of society where hope is lost. Also, those of us in the Western world are incredibly blessed and we can do something about that suffering. I’m confident that the more I do to improve people’s lives, (especially if I get to know those people) the more fulfillment I would have. I don’t expect I will regret not seeing Antarctica if it is because I was consumed with alleviating poverty or injustice (at a minimum Elisabeth and my approach accomplishes this using the profits from IntelliTect). 
  3. When I’m on my deathbed perhaps my reflections will be solely focused on time not spent with those I love or not having those that loved me and will miss me at my bedside?

In summary, I suspect that when I can’t be adventurous anymore, I will regret not having been more adventurous. Similarly, when I’m not as capable of helping those experiencing extreme injustice, I will wonder if I should have done more. But, when I’m on my deathbed, time with loved family and friends will be my focus, satisfaction with helping others will be cathartic, and adventure will be irrelevant.

Surprisingly, however, I find that this last sentence does not suffice for the guiding insight. Why should sentiment on your deathbed be the primary consideration for how you live most of your life? Instead, I choose to:

Love like there is no tomorrow,
fight poverty and injustice,
and seize today’s adventures

(I’m eager to improve this last sentence and request suggestions… but for now I’m choosing published over perfection.)

One Response to Live Like You Were Dying

  1. jake says:

    How about
    “embrace life’s uncertainty with verve and spirit”

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