“It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”
– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
I read this quote a while ago and I was surprised to find that a thought like this already exists. For the past few months, I have had the feeling that ‘I don’t know how much time I have and I may be running out of it’. It came out of nowhere or it probably is a result of a subconscious thought; either way, I am glad it came my way.
I didn’t have a thought like this because I am going through something; I am fine, seeming healthy and void of any physical or mental conditions, as far I know. I am not on the verge of the end or on my way to it. The thought came as a response to the following questions:
- What have I achieved so far?
- If I die today, what will I be remembered for?
- How many of my dreams have I chased?
- What have I learnt from from failure?
Opportunities sneak up you, stay alert.
These are questions that we tend to save for later. What if tomorrow doesn’t come? It can seem morbid to ponder over the responses to these questions, but it isn’t morbid if you look at it as a way of creating or grabbing opportunities. If you have a whole life to live, you have as many opportunities as the days you have to live. If you didn’t know when you were going to die, you’d work on your dreams and bucket lists right away. Think of it like a game of the dreaded musical chairs – you never know when the music is going to stop, so you stay alert and keep your eye on the chair.
Perfection is a paradox.
Living each day to the fullest doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid about the day ending and wondering if you will live to see the next day; it just means that you have to put in some effort and use the time you have. In addition to trying, you also have the option of failing at living the day to the fullest. Maybe your perfect plan changes, just go along with it instead of trying to force the course back to perfection.
It’s a paradox, don’t you see? You’ll be so busy looking for a perfect plan to live that day to fullest that you’ll overlook other plans that present themselves. Perfection is a sham because it’s too subjective. Look for moments, opportunities and challenges instead; look for experiences.
Serendipity is the place to be.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist who came up with the five stages of grief as we know them today (DABDA). I have read about these stages while learning tid-bits in psychology from time to time. The five stages were outlined for terminally ill patients, but are now applied universally. Till date, I have never been able to recall her name though I remember the five stages she outlined. Today, while sorting through a bunch of quotes, I came across one that resonated with my whole self, and that was one of hers.
It’s not a huge moment, but it made me smile and confirmed my belief that everything is connected in the little worlds we build for ourselves. We attract more of what we are drawn to towards ourselves and in that manner, we find serendipity, also known as happy coincidences. If you look hard enough you will find enough loose ends in your life to tie together. Ideally, no one would want loose ends left behind, but sometimes you have to let them go to fix them later. We lose so much time fretting over things that are not in our control or over solutions we can’t find at that moment.
I fret over loose ends, too, for days on end. I wrote the above for myself as much as I wrote it for someone to find it. I calm down eventually, but that residual feeling has the potential to take over the days that I am trying to live to the fullest. On those days, I try to blur out the loose ends and focus on other details or the big picture, if I am in the mood for it, and I find these coincidences that help me take off into another plane of thought.
That’s how I came here today!
So, to answer my questions, I say this: I have achieved a good number of things, little as they may be, they are important to me. If I die today, I may be remembered for my personal library, my pessimism and occasional realism, my sarcasm and humour, and hopefully, this blog. I have chased some dreams and am currently chasing a few others, but I am happy with all of them. I dare to dream now and that’s all it takes to begin anything. The dreams that failed have taught me to look out for opportunities, to do as much as I can in terms of effort and determination, to make mistakes, to celebrate serendipity and to take a break while I chase dreams so that I can go all the way.
Reader. Learner. Dreamer.
I am all about the little things in life!