Wait a minute. Who am I to say, “Don’t live like every day was your last”? I’m no one. And that’s part of the point. Plenty of songs, posters and pop gurus are spouting this platitude, “Live like today was your last”. But just because they say it, does that make it true?
Here is my reasoning. Think of all the baggage people carry around. Mistakes they’ve made, things they didn’t attempt, regrets of what could have been. If today was the first day of the rest of your life then those things would not be able to steal your zest for life, today is the first day.
And what about this zest for life? Have you ever looked at a child who is seeing something for the first time? Do you see their excitement, their wonder, their lack of limitations? How much more would you attempt if you saw everything as a child does?
Let me ask you, what kind of pressure would you be under about your future if today was your last day? Your future consists of 24 hours. How much time would you spend just figuring out what was the most important thing to do? What if today’s opportunities didn’t line up with your wishes?
Let me make this real. I spent the first 18 years of my life going through the top four abuses that comprise 98% of reported abuses. If I saw each day of that as my last, how do you think I would view what my life had been? But if I view today as the first of the rest of my life then I have hope for a better future.
My son was diagnosed with severe late-onset autism. If I looked backwards because today is my last day, and that is the only direction I can see, I would be wallowing in, “What caused this?” I’d also be consumed with, “What is going to happen to my son now?” But if I see today as the first, I can say, “What can I set in motion so that he has the best life he can”.
Wow, those are some negative examples. Okay, how about some positive reasons to see today as the first. I read an article in the paper about a family that needed help with advocacy for their son with autism. My initial reaction is, “I can start helping them.” I ended up going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with them.
Another example, I saved a lady who was going to jump from a bridge to her death. How? I didn’t talk about the past because obviously it must contain some pain. I talked about tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.
So who am I to say, “Live every day like it’s your first”? I’m nobody in particular; but I can live today as if it’s my first and watch where it takes me!
Beautifully, wonderfully presented post, Shane! WONDERFUL! GROWN-UP ADULT TALKING! As deeply as I can, I sincerely thank you for what you share here.
At the same time, for my own peace of mind ... and to bring my thinking and reasoning into a focus I handle under current circumstances, I wrote the following acronymic essay called "TODAY" ("Those Other Days Aren't Yours")