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Live Life to the Fullest

Kevin was just 42 years old when he died of a heart attack. He was in the prime of his life: Happily married, the father of two small children, a successful banker. My guess is that, when he left that weekend to go to his friend’s cottage, he may have been very casual in saying goodbye to his wife and children. Surely, the thought of not returning didn’t enter his mind.

Marcia was 40 when she finally lost her battle with cancer. She, too, was happily married. She had a young son, and she had grown very close to her family through this trying ordeal.

Kodey was 11. He had barely begun life, and then it was over. He had been healthy during those 11 years, until the virus swept in and ended his life very quickly.

I knew Kevin, Marcia and Kodey. There have been others, too. Though the others’ deaths were not as sudden, not as unexpected, they too reminded me of this lesson: Live life to the fullest.

Napolean Hill, one of the world’s greatest motivational authors, said that “every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” I believe that the lesson I mentioned, “live life to the fullest,” is the “equivalent or greater benefit” that came as a result of these tragedies.

You see, God doesn’t promise us tomorrow. Every day men, women and children die. Some after lengthy illness, others suddenly. We just don’t know when our number is up, when our time has come, when life here on earth is no more. So, in the meantime, live life to the fullest.

Here’s my question for you: Are you living life to the fullest? What would you do differently if you knew that you only had one year to live? How about one month? What if today would be your last?

I ask these questions not to be morbid, or negative, or to burden you with the responsibility of having to think about your response. I ask them because we have the wonderful opportunity to think about “how we would life our lives if…,” and to begin living that life today. We have the opportunity to make adjustments in the way we live our lives, so that we are doing the things that are important to us. So that we are indeed “living life to the fullest.”

Fortunately, we are alive and well, not lying on our deathbed, longing for “another chance.” People who have come close to death often say that they have different priorities no than they did before. They don’t take things for granted anymore. They realize the how short life is, and how quickly it can end. Their focus changes.

None of them, when reflecting in their hospital bed, think “if I make it through this, I’m going to spend more time at work.” Rather, they think about doing more of what they love to do. They think about enjoying more time with their family. They think about the difference they can make--in their own lives, and in the lives of others.

Don’t wait until you’re lying on your deathbed. Don’t wait until tragedy strikes someone around you. Live life NOW. Live life to the fullest.

Here’s the good news: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You get to choose to live life to the fullest. Here are some things to think about as you make that choice:

  1. What kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to listen more and talk less? Do you want to smile more? Worry less? Be more relaxed, with less stress? Do you want to be more spontaneous, to have more fun? Do you want to be more curious? Decide what kind of person you want to be. Then start living that way.
  2. What do you want to be doing? Do you want to read more and watch less TV? Visit museums more and Blockbuster less? Do you want to listen to more classical music? Learn a hobby, or a foreign language? Do you want to enroll in an aerobics class, or learn yoga? Do you want to eat more broccoli, and fewer french fries?
  3. What kind of parent / child / friend do you want to be? Do you want to hug more, and yell less? Do you want to keep in touch with friends, especially the ones who have moved away? Do you want to, just once: Eat spaghetti on the living room floor? Tell your kids to go out and get grass stains on their new pants? Say “I know it’s getting late, and you have school tomorrow. But why don’t you stay up just a few minutes longer?” Do you want to go for more bike rides? Fly more kites? Have more meaningful conversations with friends and family members? Do you want to say more “I love you’s,” more “I’m sorry’s” and more “thank you’s?”

How will you live life at work? Do you want to work less and make more? Do you want to tell your boss to “take this job and shove it?” Do you want to moonlight as a dancer? A singer? A consultant? Do you want to pursue your passion, your calling in life? Do you want to do what you love, knowing that the financial part will take care of itself?

When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did. Carpe diem. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Life live NOW, and live life to the fullest.

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