I would like for you to imagine that you will die tomorrow.
I would like for you to think of all the things that now in this moment you realise that you will not do again. Things that you have now done for the very last time.
When was the last time you went to the seaside, or swam in the ocean?
When was the last time you took a walk just to take a walk?
Personally I have not been to the seaside for over a year. Although I am quite sure that the last time I took off my trunks I was not thinking it could be my last.
In truth not one of us knows how long we have left. Death makes a mockery of almost everything we spend our time doing. The coronavirus and the fear of death has locked down the globe in a way never seen before in history.
Tim Urban (waitbutwhy.com) publishes a graph of life, where every week of your life is laid out on an axis. On it you can see where you are, and how much time you have left.
You can put your finger on the current week of your life.
It can be quite scary to see this. It shows the years between birth and 90 years. For most people 90 years or 90 years of good health is a best case scenario. We are also aware that anything could jeopardise this amount of time. A pandemic, Earthquake even crossing the street.
With so many uncertainties and factors out of our control we have only one thing on which we can be sure.
This next moment.
Some say that life is just a succession of these next moments.Quality is not the amount of time we are given. It is the attention which we bring to this time.
Attention is that moment when two people lock eyes. It is that deep breath when you step outside. Attention is when you stop because you noticed a sound or smell. Attention is when you are lost in the moment. Not just lost in thought.
Attention is the difference between time and quality time.
No-one wants to go on a journey and see nothing, to just be lost, longing for arrival at the destination. Why not go on a journey and see everything. Take pictures, sniff smells, dance to songs. Experience life as though it were our last time, to savour it.
It comes down to a simple concept. An incredibly difficult simple concept. Far easier to say than to do.
Wherever you are, be there.
Write a text when you’re on your phone, not in the car on the way, it’ll either be a bad text or a scary ride. Have dinner at the dinner table not while working at your desk. When you’re with friends, be friendly, turn off your phone. When you’re at work, go to work.
If you understand this concept the brevity of life becomes clear. There are only a finite number of times we do everything. The number of times you tell someone you love them, in a way that they feel it and that you feel it too. The number of times you say thank you, or pay a compliment. You’ve used most of them.
If we think in this way it has the potential to make much of what we do quite special. It can also bring about change. A resolve to not suffer over the little things. To only do things that bring us joy. To work for what excite us and to relax fully even in the midst of struggle.
Who knows what will happen in the coming weeks and months. But one thing is for sure. This next moment will still exist. How we choose to give our attention will colour the experience.
With this renewed awareness. Why not go out into the world today, notice a little more, give a little more. Remember that there are so many precious things in our lives which we only get to do a finite number of times.
Let us savour each and every one those and live them as if they were our last.
Have a lovely day.
Michael, Pesh and the Chaka Team
This Article was partly inspired by Sam Harris and his excellent lesson “last time” on the waking up app. Mention should also go to Tim Urban waitbutwhy.com for the life calendar.