In On the shortness of life, Seneca explains that we all have the same amount of time available, but it’s what we do with it that makes us wealthy or poor.
We are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but are wasteful of it. Just as when ample and princely wealth falls to a bad owner it is squandered in a moment, but wealth however modest, if entrusted to a good custodian, increases with use, so our lifetime extends amply if you manage it properly.
He contends that we allow others to rob us of our valuable time, and that could come in the form of a slavishness to business, an over-indulgence in our looks, or a love affair with our couch. Each moment we give up to another is a moment we lose to building a life that creates happiness through virtue.
With that in mind I thought about how I would live tomorrow if I knew if it was going to be my last day on earth but I couldn’t tell anyone. Here’s what I came up with.
- Get up early.
- Go for a run.
- Meditate. These first three provide me with a sense that I’m in charge of my life. I’d need that if I was facing death.
- Make Rita the best cup of coffee ever. I’d greet her with a smile and give her a hug and tell her I love her.
- Phone Mum and thank her for showing me how to face adversity with dignity and with a smile. Tell her I love her.
- Call my brothers and tell them how awesome they are.
- Call my nieces and nephews and tell them they can do it.
- Make sure that Rita knew where to find my will.
- Tie up incomplete communications.
- Deal with the small pile of paper on my desk – they represent decisions I’ve been avoiding.
- Mow the lawns and do the edges. I’d want them to look good for the wake.
- Put away the running shirt I’ve left over the back of the kitchen chair.
- Get rid of the crap out of the boot of my car. It would leave people scratching their heads.
- Tell everyone at work what a great bunch of people they are.
- Ensure the team at work knew who was responsible for what. That would take making a couple of small decisions and communicating those to everyone.
- Enjoy a glass of red with Rita and cook dinner together.
- Write something that will give a fire suit to those who need to walk through the flames.
- Leave the TV turned off.
What would you do if today was to be your last day?
Image: Fikret Onal