How Would You Choose To Spend Your Last Day?

Credit: Katie Daisy

 

All through my life I’ve been super aware that every day absolutely could be my last, that tomorrow is not guaranteed, that we never know which moment it could all come to an end. I’ve carried sentiments with me like “live like you were dying!” or “live every moment like it was your last” or “make the most out of every moment and live fully” etc. etc. etc. Or a personal favorite is the quote above!

But actually LIVING like that? It goes something like this:

 

Something, normally a terrible tragedy or a in-your-face reminder, waves my mortality in my face. I vow to live my life fully…like I was dying…like EVERY LAST MOMENT IS MY FREAKING LAST. And that might last for a couple days and then I’m back to life on auto-pilot. Frittering those moments away. Maybe I’m scrolling endlessly through things I don’t care about on Facebook for more time than I’d like to admit. Or just laying down being pissed off and grumpy about something I can’t control. Most of the frittering I think of in my head are NOT exactly things I’d want to have done if it was my last day on Earth.

BUT WHY IS IT SO HARD?

Maybe it’s because we literally have no idea what moment is going to be our last so our days seem endless and undefined. Or that we cannot fathom ceasing to be? So we push our mortality away in the stream of day to day until something forces it in front of us.

But what if you got a heads up? Would it change things?

That’s the premise of an amazing book I read recently — They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera.

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

 

It’s set in an alternate version of our reality in that a service, called Death Cast, knows when you are going to die and they call and give you a heads up on the day you are going to die. So you still have no idea what moment is going to be but you literally know you are going to die on this day.

I found the concept to be interesting because I’ve always thought “I wish I could just know” but also I don’t think I would want to know?? And if you knew that it was the day you were going to die…I don’t know if that would be freeing and I’d want to live it up or if I’d want to curl into a ball just terrified death was lurking around every corner — which is pretty much the dilemma of one of the main characters.

He has been pretty play-it-safe his whole life because he’s terrified of death and so he tries to minimize risk. BUT HE GETS THE CALL. So…seize the day and all that! Make up for lost time! But it proves to be harder than he imagines but also easier with the help of a new friend he makes who also got the call.

I really loved the book — it was beautifully written, I loved the characters, it made me cry like a baby and mostly it made me think.

Like why is it so hard to take advantage of all the moments I get? Why do I take them forgranted? And also like what does that EVEN MEAN? Because sometimes I feel like it means that I need to be taking adventures constantly and having fun 24/7 and always enjoying everything but also that feels super not realistic to me? Maybe it’s enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book..something I truly enjoy. And it’s probably different for everyone…what makes you feel full and like you really ~lived~ in that moment.

A lot of the businesses in the book that catered to “Deckers”, those who get the call, all seem to be about simulating the big things in a safe environment — skydiving, seeing the world in like 20 minutes, thrill seeking adventures, etc. But I loved that in the book that some of the most full moments the two main characters were small and maybe seemingly insignificant on any other day.

And maybe that’s what it is — maybe living fully is full of those small and big moments. I mean, if it were my last day, sure I’d want to do something big I’ve always wanted to do, but I’m sure I’d also want to be spending it with those I love doing the things that bring me joy on a day-to-day basis when I’m not doing something “big”.

I don’t know what the point of this post was now that I just word vomited all that out. I guess I just wanted to share how

I feel like I want to figure out a daily way to remind myself to “live fully” in whatever capacity it means for that day. To enjoy and savor the moments. To not feel like I wasted a day if it doesn’t seem like I did anything when in reality maybe I relaxed and spent little moments with Will and Riley. But I also took away from reading the book that maybe I’ve been living too safe sometimes. And I’d like to learn how to take more risks and to minimize the things that I AM truly wasting time on. Because there are things I could totally do less of and then make room for things that truly make me feel like I’ve spent my day more fully. I don’t want to put everything off to do in some distant future that is not guaranteed.  I don’t want to only be reminded that the time I have is precious only when something terrible happens to remind me of that fact.

As a sidenote: I’ve noticed since having Riley that when she is awake it’s really easy to put away my phone and enjoy all the little moments with her. Seeing life through her eyes, man, it makes everything so much more fun.

ANYWAYS….go read They Both Die At The End! It’s great! Maybe it will inspire you like it did me!

 

Thoughts on living fully/like every day is your last? What does it mean to you? How do you remind yourself to do it? Have you read They Both Die At The End? What did you think??

 

[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.

 

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Hi Jamie! Thank you for such a thoughtful and well-written post. It gives me a lot to think about early this Tuesday morning – especially because I feel it’s so rare to actually discuss the possibility of death and to that, living life with that knowledge.

    Also! I believe the artist you’re looking for is Katie Daisy. Her stuff is so whimsical and fun! 🙂

    • YES I do think we don’t always talk about it. I feel like every since my mom passed away when I was 21 I’ve been super aware of my mortality…probably more than most people and sometimes to a fault. It can be anxiety inducing sometimes!

      AHHH YES THANK YOU! You know, I was thinking…I swear the artists name had a flower in it lol

  2. I’ve always lived my life based on the fact that you never know what will happen. For me, I never leave thing unsaid. Don’t leave hurt feelings out there to fester. Let people know they matter to you and what makes them so special to you. Don’t say things you will regret if tomorrow doesn’t come. It’s a bit of a different spin, but that’s what I focus on when I think about it…..

    • YES. This is a huge aspect of this that I didn’t even touch on. I’m so glad you brought it up! I feel like I’m always quick to resolve things with Will or other loved ones because of that. I also try not to leave the house or let Will leave angry at each other because I would beat myself up forever if something happened. And I think that’s a good point..just making sure you don’t forget to say the things you think about how much people mean to you. I need to be better about that…easy to assume they always know. My sister and I were just talking about this because we are kind of upset with our dad right now (he left my stepmom and was quickly with someone else and was just shitty all around about it) but we were talking about how hard it is because we want to be mad but we also know that we would never forgive ourselves if something happened and we were mad at him.

      Thanks for sharing! <3

  3. I love this post! I totally understand feeling like you need to be out DOING THINGS and not just frittering away time. Like, there are definitely times where I feel disappointed with myself if I don’t take advantage of a nice day and have some ~adventures~ or whatever, but then there are also days where I’m totally okay with curling up on the couch under a cozy blanket reading or watching football all day. I also kind of think that whole feeling of needing to do things 24/7 is a result of social media stuff…like, there are always those people on Facebook or Instagram who seem like they’re out having adventures EVERY SINGLE DAY, but that’s probably not realistic and highly curated on their part. I don’t know. But I do think it can be really hard to get out of our own heads and enjoy the moment or whatever. It’s definitely easier to focus on stupid things or nothing at all than to find those small moments of joy in every day. Personally I try to spend less time on social media and remind myself to just notice more. Like, if I go for a run I try to consciously pay attention to my surroundings and appreciate the sunshine and things like that. But it definitely doesn’t happen every day.

    I guess I ended up word vomiting here too haha 🙂 hope you don’t mind the ramblings of an internet stranger. This post just really resonated with me.

  4. You already know I am a HUGE fan of this novel. Like you, it got me thinking about taking chances and finally doing those things I always wanted to do. I do believe there is a balance between doing what you love (reading, staying at home relaxing) and stretching yourself as a way to live life. I think the biggest takeaway for me is no regrets.

    One of the things I could not help but question throughout this novel was whether their deaths became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, would they have happened had they never gotten the call. Example after example in the book show people who were ultimately killed as they were out doing things they would not have done that day – the family leaving, walking across the street in an area never previously visited, committing suicide, etc. So it begs the question whether knowing the day you die is a good thing or directly leads to your death because it causes shifts in behavior and patterns? More things to throw at you! 🙂

  5. What a wonderful review. And such an interesting topic too. I don’t think I would want to know when I would die either. I think I would just be trying to do EVERYTHING before that date and not really enjoy it. 🙁

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