Friday Nov 09, 2007

Live with the end in mind

The thought of literally keeping  the end in mind while living, and how this regular reminder of the end enables living life to the fullest is the gist of this post. We generally tend to live as though our days were endless, or even if we do have a faint realization that someday our lives must end, it tends to seem to be sometime in the distant future. This thinking holds the potential for us to not value and fully appreciate the importance of each day, of our lives.


Of course, there are days that are memorable and days when we really feel alive. But, how many days of your life would match this description ? Would you be able to say that a large number, if not all of the days of your life that you presently live, are days you treasure, cherish and value ?


I'm reminded of an interesting observation that i came across sometime ago on this subject. Its about a method to remind you to live with the end in mind. It involves a little math ! Answer this question - how much longer do you expect to live ? I mean, how many more years do you think you might live ? Humor me and make a guesstimate. So, what do you expect ? Twenty five years ? Thirty years ? Forty ?


When you are done estimating, translate those years into days. Here's an example just to illustrate what has been talked about thus far - If you expect to live another twenty five years, that would translate into 9125 days more i.e. 25 x 365 days. Take a few moments to reflect on this number. This is your estimate of how many more days you have at your disposal.


Now all that is left is to be regularly reminded of this finite number of days we have left. Again, the observation continues with a fairly simplistic yet effective way to do this ... place as many marbles as the number of days you have estimated in a transparent jar at a place where you get to see them each day. So, in the previous example, we would need to place 9125 marbles in a jar. Now, each day morning pick up a marble from the jar and throw it away. This exercise is aimed at driving home reality & regularly reminding you about the limited number of days at your disposal. Think about it ... what benefits would you derive if you were regularly reminded of the finite-ness of your existence, especially at the start of each day; how would you approach each brand new day especially when you know that there's only so many more days left ? 


In the light of this knowledge, would you still prefer to squander away the days that you have or would you rather choose to live each "remaining" day to the fullest. 


If you're thinking about the scenario where you outlive your estimate and what do you do if and when you ran out of marbles to throw away ... when you realize that you are still alive ! and there's no more marbles left in the jar(s) to throw away, not to worry - that brings us to the final part of the story - by now you would have learnt to treasure each day while counting-down and having reached your estimate, you now begin to treasure each additional day with the grateful thought that every new day is a bonus, a present to be treasured even greatly, a gift thats more than what you expected to receive.


Signing off this post with a thought that you might have heard before, yet seems apt to mention now - Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. What we have is the gift of today ... its called the present. Treasure each moment, every day.


And if you think that your day today is simply gonna be another normal day and isn't special, then this closing quote by Mary Jean, is for you ...


"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return"


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John Morrison

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