You know that cliche, that you should live as though this were your last day? Well, I’m not so sure if you should exactly do that, because chances are you will live until tomorrow, and you don’t want to screw yourself over with reckless abandonment of anything that means something and will be important for your future. But I don’t think the idea should be entirely written off. I’ve heard people respond to the question with things along the lines of travelling or doing something extreme. But would you really spend your last day on a plane for hours getting to a foreign country? Would you want to jump out of an airplane or go streaking through the streets of New York, or would you want to take this one last day to do what really matters? If you ask me, most of us would choose the latter, and I don’t think we should wait until we’re about to go to start.
1. Thank the catalysts of your becoming.
This can begin with your parents. It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship or lack-there-of you have with them. It’s because of them that you’re still here. Despite your qualms or issues, at the end of the day, they gave you something– even if it was only the gift of being born. I understand that some of you may feel as though you don’t have anything to thank your parents for, but I promise you, you do. For the people who helped you and for the people that broke your heart– they all played equally important roles. You need to thank these people, they all played a role in building your city, even if all they did was demolish something. At the end of the day, you were able to build something better in it’s place.
2. Be honest about your love.
I know the fear of rejection is daunting and terrible and makes our egos so damn vulnerable, but we absolutely have to learn to move past what we’re afraid of and embrace taking a chance, and realizing all of the possibilities we could be letting ourselves have if we only gather a few moments of courage to tell someone the truth. Don’t let some wonderful person go on living their live not knowing how deeply they are loved by you. Most often, when you tell people how you feel, they are receptive and grateful that you think so much of them, even if they don’t necessarily reciprocate the feelings. At the very least, let them know that they are worth loving, and that even if you aren’t the person they want to be with, they should know that you’re there, and you want them.
3. Embrace that whatever happened, happened.
Thinking it through a few more times won’t change your feelings. We’re very often caught in this delusion that the more we dwell on something, view it from every angle, get a few more opinions, the situation may change or we’ll feel differently about it. This is not true. It will only serve to upset us and keep attracting that same kind of negativity into our lives. The issue isn’t experiencing negativity in your life: a happy life isn’t one that is free of sadness or pain. It’s the one that has learned how to let it pass by without getting caught on the edges of our innate joy. Clean it off if it’s there. It only sticks if you hold your hands out to grab it.
4. Be who you are in all the beautiful, little ways you can think of.
Listen to your favorite song, eat your favorite food, enjoy the little things that bring you happiness. The truth is we lose sight of the lustrousness of the things we love because we assume we’ll always be able to have them. Imagine every experience was the last time you’d have it. You’d savor every second. Beyond that, realize how your favorite anything says something important about you. Every time you uncover something that makes you light up, you get better acquainted with yourself. What you are drawn to is your physical body’s way of introducing yourself to yourself through the things you can physically see and experience.
5. Write letters to those who deserve to hear from you.
Thank those who have helped you, and thank those who haven’t: they’ve helped you in silent, invisible ways that were more powerful than you may have realized. Say hello to the friends you lost touch with, remind your relatives how much you care about them, and thank them for the little things they’ve done for you that seemed insignificant before. There is something unbelievably fulfilling about reaching out to remind someone that they are loved. I think it just goes to show that it’s the most important thing you can do.
6. Write down what you know and what you’ve learned.
Leave your legacy in writing. You never know who could pick it up one day and learn from it. Plus, people have a strange tendency of really taking note of what people are saying after they’re gone. It makes what they said this exclusive and irreplaceable thing– and it is! But it is no less exclusive and irreplaceable while the person is here than when they are gone, that is to be remembered. So at the end of the day, make sure the world knows what you know, and fulfill your own role of helping to fulfill others in whatever way you feel compelled to do so.
Not only to the people you have hurt, but to yourself. To the universe. To whatever and whomever you have hurt without realizing. Just because your intentions are always good does not mean you haven’t hurt someone. One of the traits I most admire in people is when they have the confidence to say that they were wrong, and that they apologize. It’s less frequent than you’d think, but I do believe it’s one of the markers of a truly good soul. This does not mean be sorry for things that are not your fault, of course. But do fully realize your imperfect state of humanity. Know that it’s not forever. Know that you very well could only have another day to be in it. Take from it what you can while you have it, and give back twice as much.