Imagine going to the doctor for a routine checkup. You think everything goes well and a week later you get a call to come back in. When you get there, your doctor tells you that you have a terminal disease and you only have one year to live. This is what happened to Ben Wolf, the main character in the book I just read Deadline, by Chris Crutcher. Ben has to decide how he wants to live the last year of his life and what changes he thinks will allow him to pack the most into that year. This was a great book and although the ending could have been a little stronger it really got me thinking.
If you only had one year to live what would you change about the way you are live your life? Would you work as hard as you could to become the star of the football team? Would you go after the guy/gal of your dreams? Would you spend time with the person everyone over looks and make a difference in their life? Would you drop everything and go travel the world? The last and most important question to consider is why don’t you make these changes now?
People often pay the “what if” game with this question. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do? I think a year is a better amount of time to consider than a day. It is long enough so that you don’t do anything drastic, such as spend your life savings on a night in Vegas, and it is short enough that it feels like you are running out of time, fast. No matter what the time is people should look at this question in different light or the answer at least. We should seriously consider the reasons why we don’t live the way we would if we knew we were dying.
Of course, there are the obvious reasons why you wouldn’t spend all your money if you were not actually dying. However, what is stopping us from making the other changes such as being more outgoing or taking more chances or going after those dreams that seem childish but are something we really want. Why is it that when people are faced with the end they will go after what they really want. I guess I know the answer to that: they have nothing to lose. However, they don’t realize they are losing everything when they aren’t living the life they really want to. It is time to change that. It is time to realize the changes we would make and start making them.
Yes, we don’t know we are going to die in a year but we also don’t know if we will live past tomorrow. We should strive to live every day in the way that we really want to. Make a list of the things you would change or do if you were dying in a year and start doing them. Make the changes you want to make now before it is too late, before your year is up
I finally figured out the purpose of life. After all these blogs and all this thinking it is so clear to me know. Just joking, that would be too easy. However, I did learn something valuable about purpose and that is everything major action of my life needs a purpose. I am not saying every single action I do is for a reason. I don’t calculate my steps so that I will step one place instead of another. I am talking about all the major actions in my life.
I thought of this when I was trying to make my decision from my last post, which you could read here. One of my deciding factors of that decision came in the form of purpose. With everything I am currently doing in my life, I have a reason why I am doing it. I am a Resident Assistant because I love to interact with people and I want to help and inspire people. The facts that the school pays for my room and board and that I get my own room don’t hurt either. I started up my club because I want to change the atmosphere on campus. I want to show students that what seems to be the “norms” of college don’t have to be. These are just two examples of the purpose my actions have.
Although these purposes seem so clear to me know, they did use to be. Don’t get me wrong I always knew why I was doing what I was doing but I never realized how important the purpose was. That is until my recent decision-making process. As I was going through the process I was trying to figure out why it felt so wrong. I examined all the other things that I was doing and found that the common denominator was purpose. With this decision, there was no real purpose or reason why I was doing it. That is why I couldn’t put myself into the decision and why it felt wrong. With that, I discovered how powerful purpose could be.
The purpose for your actions is what gives you motivation to endure the struggle it takes. The reason for your choices is what makes you put everything you have into them. If two equally skilled boxers are in a fight, who do you think is going to win? Is it going to be the one that is fighting for money to put food on the table for his family; or is it going to be the one that is just fighting for the fame he will receive? I am going to put my money on the former. He has a more vivid and stronger purpose. He has more to fight for.
I challenge you to evaluate your life. Look at the things that take up the majority of your time and see what their purpose is to you. If you are like me, this should help you find new motivation. You probably always knew why you did something but you never really said it aloud. Give it a try and if you find that the purpose of something you are doing is a little foggy, maybe it is time to re-evaluate what it is that you are doing.
What is the thing that takes up the most of your time? What is the purpose of it?
If you think about it we are really lucky: humans that is. We are lucky because we are alive. Out of all the billions of planets and stars in the universe, we ended up on the one that is able to support us. We beat the odds of about one and a billion. However, I do not like to believe in luck. When people believe in luck, they see others’ accomplishments as luck instead of as a result of hard work and perseverance. Also, they stop themselves from going out and achieving their own goals because they would rather wait and let luck make them happen than make them happen themselves. So I do not believe that humans are lucky. Instead, I believe that humans, that each and every one of us, is here for a reason. Whether we know it or not, there is a reason that we landed on this rock in the middle of nowhere.
Mark Twain hard it right when he said “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Although I agree with Mr. Twain, the days in-between are also important. The way you live those days decides whether or not you find the reason that you are alive. You can live each day just going through the motions but it may be hard to find your purpose. However, you can live each day as if our days on this rock are not endless, because our days are not endless, and make the most of them. You can change things up, experience new activities, get new perspectives on life and search for your purpose. The path this takes you down may not be the easiest to travel but I only imagine what the end of that path looks like. Knowing that if I look and fight hard enough I can find out why I exist, I do not see to many other things more worth fighting for. I may not have found my purpose yet and I may not know how but I will not give up until I find it. If you find yourself asking how exactly to go about finding your purpose, my recent post Finding Your Passion may help give you a good starting point.
We all have already experienced our first most important day and I am going to fight to experience my second day. Is the second day worth the fight to you?