Happy New Year. It’s like my mother said, as you get older, time moves more quickly! That seemed like a quick trip around the sun. But it was a good trip; a trip filled with lots of lessons and learning. I know it is just another day, but it’s the day of new beginnings for many. I am sure the rooms of recovery programs will again see an influx of newcomers. (My sponsor calls January the ‘prime recruitment month’.) I wish them well on their path to recovery.
A question came to my mind today: If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you be doing today? There are variations of the question out there. What are you knocking off the bucket list for this year? Are your affairs in order? Are you living your dreams? For me though, it begs the question: So why aren’t you doing that now?
I’ve learned that life is full of twists and turns, just like the river. I don’t know what is around the corner. And yes, tomorrow may be my last day. Memento mori is the latin term for the practice of remembering our mortality: Remember that you have to die, is the translation. Life will not go on forever. It can end at any moment. This reminder could lead one into a blue funk, but for me it is a reminder of how precious life is. Each moment that passes I can be grateful for. Memento mori urges me on to live my dreams, to make a life and not eke out a living. I don’t have to build a castle, I can visit many castles.
It’s not always been easy, but I have been living a life that is different from the norm. I haven’t had a typical job for over thirty years: part-time, contract, seasonal, freelance. Some people say to me that they wish the could have my life in the tropics. I usually tell them that they can have this life too. Then I hear about responsibilities, and mortgages, and pensions and more excuses. I don’t argue but I do know from living the results, that everyone can stop having dreams and start living them.
This Christmas was the 23rd anniversary of my father’s death. He was only 63 and it marked me deeply. It taught me that life is a gift with an unknown expiration date and then I too, will have to die. Life is for living. These thoughts follow on with the big lesson of 2017 for me: I will survive everything that comes my way, until I don’t. There is so much to experience in this life. Step out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Live your dreams. Memento mori reminds me life is short and I will be dead for a lot longer than I lived on this earth. And I remember the movie Auntie Mame: “Live! That’s the message. Yes, life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
This New Year’s Day, if you must make a resolution, make one to live your dreams. Paint if you’ve always wanted to be a painter. Write if you want to write the greatest novel of the 21st century. Go on that retreat you want to go to. Don’t focus on the results. Forget about what people might say. Instead, focus on the experience. Live your dream. Dine at that banquet of life today and every day!