My husband was reading a book recently that referenced a woman who routinely considers what she would do if she only had six months left to live. Of course, if you absolutely knew you only had six months, there would be some things that would be doable that you would never actually do, outside of a mental exercise. Unless I knew, I wouldn’t quit work. I wouldn’t use all my savings, either on travel or kids or good causes. I wouldn’t drop my health insurance, or skip making my next dental cleaning appointment.
But what would I do if I knew? I’m not sure I can define a timeline…how do you determine how much time out of a six month window is enough? Enough time with your spouse, your children, your grandchild, your family? How much time would I want for myself? I think there are a few places in the world I would want to see with Rob at my side. There are some friends I would want to connect with, in person. I would want to be deliberate and intentional in my choices, in how I spent my time.
Would it be possible to use each moment wisely? And what would I want to leave as a legacy? I want my children to know I am a woman of faith: faith in God, faith in them, faith in life. Life isn’t always fair, pretty, or happy. But it is wonderful, full of surprises. I’ve learned not to write the end of the story before its time, because the ending I think I see is probably not the end that will ultimately be. And so I’ve learned that it is worthwhile to watch and to wait.
There’s a quote I like from Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, a movie about a dysfunctional family and a daughter coming to terms with the impact of the dysfunction in her life. In one scene she is with her dad, and she asks him, “Daddy, did you get loved enough?” And I think that’s the question I would ask the people I love. I know how I feel about each one. But I would want to be sure that each one knew, from me, in my words, how I love them.
This isn’t really a morbid thing to do. I actually found it enjoyable to think about what is most important to me; about who is most important.
I’m not experiencing end-of-life premonitions, nor do I expect to lose my house to a fire, if you read my previous post. I’m really in a good place. But I am 50, and several people have mentioned to me that this was a year in their lives of introspection, contemplation, and re-discovery. I don’t think I’m naval-gazing…I like to think I’m cleaning out and re-setting myself. It’s good to evaluate and get re-acquainted after years of “keeping milk in the house.”
So, if you’re up for some introspection, right after you finish contemplating what you would save if your house was on fire (see yesterday’s post), give some thought to what you would do in your last six months. Or play with the formula…give yourself a year, shorten the time frame…it can be your exercise to design as you choose. I think it’s worthwhile to consider. Just don’t get carried away and turn in your resignation. Chances are you’ll be around far beyond the time you allot yourself!