What Would You Do If You Only Had One Month to Live?
Have you ever answered the question, “What do I want to fulfill in my life”? It’s a really deep question, and to answer it takes a knowing of yourself, and some quiet time to be able to dig deep within to find the answer. More often than not, the initial response is, “I don’t know.” It’s an important question, yet it’s one that we don’t often ask ourselves. We can all get so busy with life and all it’s distractions and “busy-ness” that things like purpose and fulfillment take a back seat.
I teach a “life planning class” three to four times a year at Happiness U, and everyone who comes, sits for two full days and answers hundreds of questions that help them to see who they are, what they want, and what their purpose is. They make a personal “Life Book” – which is basically a guiding manual for their life. They take the time to work on strategies to align their lives more deeply with who they really are and what they want at a deep level.
A series of questions in the template has to do with mortality. We all know we will pass away at some given point “in the future.” If you knew when, would it change what you do today? So the deep questions are – “What if you had ten years left to live?” “What if you had five years? One year? Six months? – and so on, down to, “What if you had one month to live?”
Interestingly, I never wanted to answer these questions and every time I worked on my Life Book, I would just skip over the questions and leave them blank. It’s much easier to think that I have “my whole life” to get things done than face the possibility that I don’t.
Well, recently, on a long airplane flight to Vietnam, catalyzed by the extreme turbulence we were experiencing, and the darkness and quiet on the flight I felt led to answer these questions. I got out my book, and stared at the questions for a long time. It took a while to even begin to get into the mindset of having a limited time on earth.
However, as I was imagining what would be really important to me to do, given these limited time spans of life, unexpectedly, a sense of deep appreciation for life itself began to emerge. I had the luxury of time and strolled through my memory, remembering all the key points in my life that now, in retrospect, I could see was divinely timed and brought me to where I am today – all the people, synchronicities, and situations that contributed to my path, the spectrum of experiences that I both loathed and loved, the agonizing unfolding of my life that at times seemed unbearable, but yet now, I could see how every experience, both wanted and unwanted was a gift to help me to find my power and my voice. I felt humbled by the incredible divine order that I could see existed in my life. I felt a sense of awe and the preciousness of life filled my awareness.
So when I started writing about what I would do, should I have a limited life span, it brought to the surface things that were truly important for me – such as leaving something of value in terms of my life guidance work and how I would plan for Happiness U to continue without me, creating more videos, doing more public presentations in order to reach more people.
When it came down to the “one month left to live” question, however, and I really imagined that I only had one month to live, I realized that what was most important to me was the people that affected my life. I really just wanted to write to everyone that had ever been a part of my life and contributed to who I am today. I want to write or talk to both the people who supported me, and to those who most challenged me —- to say thank you.
When I imagined that I only had one month left, I really felt that there was nothing more important than letting every person in my life know that they made a positive and vital difference in my life in a very profound way. I also wanted to tell them I loved them.
I came away from this with a new-found, self-inspired appreciation for life, and those who are in my life – in both big and small ways. So, if you have read this far, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to you now, and not wait until I have just one month to live. If you are reading this, you are obviously a part of my life, even if I don’t know you, I am thankful for you and I love that you are in my life. I’ve already made a plan to start writing letters and telling those who are important to me in person how much they mean to me, and how much they have made a difference in my life.
What would you do if you knew you only had one month left to live?