With one year to live, we’d suddenly understand who and what really matters, and we’d tell the people we love and hate that we love and hate them. And, yes, I think it’s fair to tell people you hate them – why shy away from the opposite of love? Think of how satisfying it would be to tell someone that you hate them more than anything else in your life, and in a cold, calculated manner, list the reasons for your loathing and then walk away like you don’t give a damn. Because you don’t. It would be awesome.
Of course, there are the people who tell us we should live like every day is our last. Treat people like it might be the last time you’ll ever see them. We’d get to do and say everything we’ve always wanted to do and say! It would be pure freedom! Or, it would be like this:
8:00AM: Wake up unreasonably happy to be alive. Stretch, scratch, wash, eat French fries. Don’t make your bed, because life is short.
8:30AM: Leave your home thinking you may never return. Feel how the door sounds as it closes behind you. Walk the streets like it is the last time you will interact in this anonymous yet communal way. Appreciate the sounds of birds, cars and people talking.
8:40AM: See a homeless man and know you can make the difference. Go to the bank and take out all of your money. Give it to the homeless man while looking deeply into his eyes to ensure you get the most out of what might be your last good deed.
9:00AM: Go see your parents and tell them the top 10 reasons you love them. Become emotionally overwhelmed that you may never see them again. Deal with their crushing sadness that today may be your last day. Somehow convince them that you have other things to do than sit with them until you are dead.
10:30AM: Repeat the previous step as necessary with other family members, lovers and best friends. Assuming you have one sibling, one lover, no children and two best friends, this may take up to six hours. This will be time consuming and you’ll likely be an emotional wreck afterwards. Try to fit in another serving of French fries and bust open that bottle of Port. Drink the Port and don’t think that the very last thing you did with the people you love the most was leave them to go do something else. But, hey, it’s your last day and you have to…
4:30PM: Go see your enemy and tell him the top 10 reasons you hate him. Become emotionally enraged that he has made you feel such fury and then feel relieved that you may never see him again. Get it all out. Make sure he doesn’t have a chance to speak as this will take up valuable minutes of what could be your last hours. Plus, he’s a fucker and he doesn’t deserve to have a say.
4:45PM: Go do whatever bucket list things you have to do before you die. It’s your last day, so you don’t really have time to travel anywhere far; do what you can with what you have. Always wanted to bungee jump? Sing karaoke? Fling your phone into the ocean and scream out your deepest secrets? Shoot someone? Now’s the time. Do whatever wonderful horrendous thing you want to do because now is possibly your last chance. Important: Be sure to capture every nuance of these activities – if you sing karaoke, really feel each note as it leaves your body. If you go bungee jumping, really feel the ridiculous amount of stupidity it takes to tie yourself to something stable and then throw yourself off said stable thing.
7:45PM: Eat French fries. Buy more Port and keep drinking. At this point, you have given all your money away, said good-bye to your loved/hated ones, crossed off some bucket list items. You are now mal-nourished and drunk. It’s been a pretty big day
8:00PM: You still have some pent-up last-day-of-your-life histrionics to relinquish. Start a fight. Kiss a stranger. Sit in the middle of the street and stop traffic. Steal something for the thrill of it. Laugh aloud alone for a long time. Realize you have much wisdom to impart and too little time to do it. Make a list of truisms you are certain will be as rousing to your audience as they suddenly are to you. Plan to share your truisms as earnestly as drunk people with hours to live can.
- Truism 1: Family and friends are the most important things in your life. Tell them you love them every chance you get.
- Truism 2: Plan your bucket list wisely – don’t leave the big ones to the last minute because instead of re-enacting Leo and Kate’s sexy parts from Titanic you’ll end up fucking the guy from accounting and throwing your phone into the ocean.
- Truism 2b: Never throw your phone away. No one memorizes phone numbers anymore and cell phone numbers aren’t listed.
- Truism 3: French fries and Port are as amazing an all-day combo as you thought they would be.
- Truism 4: Life is indeed short and … um … you should live every day like it’s your last, right? Or something else that everyone else says all the time. (Have you noticed that all of our last day/last year plans sound incredibly similar? Is anyone else suspicious of this? I am.)
It doesn’t work
Based on this very accurate description, you can see that while the idea is lovely, it doesn’t work. We can’t live that precariously all the time. The drama will take a toll. The schedule will take a toll. We can’t sustain the level of tragedy and exhilaration of living life like every day is the last. Anyone who says you can/should is a dink.
Instead, let’s figure out if there is anything in our lives that is missing and, if it’s important, fill in the blank. That’s it. And if what you are missing sounds an awful lot like what a million other people are missing, maybe think a little harder.