In a recent post, I confessed that I finally came out of my cave and watched The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy with my family. Sure, I was a little behind the times, but maybe it was worth it. Maybe if I had watched the movie earlier, I wouldn’t have learned the life-changing lessons that I did from it. There were four, and for the rest of this post, I am going to expound on the first one.
Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last
When I was around thirty years old, I read a motivational book that encouraged me to live each day as if it was both my first day on earth, and my last. The first, because then we would approach each new day with a sense of wonder and curiosity (which we probably would all continue to have into adulthood, to some extent, if we weren’t jaded by the school system). The last, because then we wouldn’t waste time. We wouldn’t procrastinate doing the important things. We wouldn’t choose martyrdom over taking care of ourselves.
And I’ve heard that bit of wisdom several times since reading that book. But it’s easy to slide back into what we’re used to. We dogs have a nasty habit of returning to our own vomit.
Watching the movie helped shake me out of my complacency. You might be scratching your head, wondering how on earth I could have gleaned that lesson from The Lord of the Rings.
Simple: the battles, the violence.
The movie reminded me that every day, thousands (millions?) of people die of starvation, in tragic accidents, from being murdered. Every day, war is happening somewhere, and the innocent citizens who never gave their permission for the government to go to war live in heart-gripping fear. They experience food shortages, loss of homes, loss of loved ones. And many times, they must leave their homes and start their lives all over in a foreign land.
I don’t expect war to happen in my backyard any time soon, but setbacks, accidents, and tragedy come in many different forms, and usually without any forewarning.
In other words, I am not guaranteed tomorrow. Neither are you.
Yes, I know you’ve heard that before. But are you living the understanding of it? I know I’m not. At least, I haven’t been.
“A moment on the lips…”
There is one problem with living each day as if it were your last, and that is, chances are good that it is not your last, and what you do today will have consequences for tomorrow.
I remember Dorothy on “The Golden Girls” television show occasionally suggesting that she and her friends splurge on cheesecake. The idea would be summarily dismissed at the last minute with the line, “Yeah, and then we’ll live until we’re ninety years old!”
In other words, a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.
If every day you ate your favorite foods, you might end up with a lot fewer days, depending on what those foods are. If every day, you chose to spend the entire day in recreation instead of doing whatever it is you do to earn an income, you would eventually end up on the streets and/or hungry.
Plus if you’re married, your spouse would get really ticked at you.
We need to draw a line when trying to incorporating the “live every day like it’s your last” philosophy into our lives. But I think you would agree that we could all do much better than we have been.
“Last day” ideas
** I will be kind and considerate to all I meet, especially my family members, whom I tend to take for granted.
** I will say “yes” more often to my child’s requests.
** I will give my husband more passionate kisses.
** I will take time to work on hobbies that fulfill me.
** I will communicate with a friend or family member whom I don’t see often just to remind them that I care.
** I will carve out some time to veg out, like read a novel while nibbling on some chocolate, or listening to my favorite music.
** I will spend more time outdoors.
** I will be grateful for what I have.
** I will not waste my energy on anger and judgmental thoughts.
Wow, I really have a ways to go, don’t I? But this is where it starts: deciding how our lives need to be enriched, then walking out the decision with intention on a daily basis.
Live every day as though it were your last. That is the first lesson I learned from watching The Lord of the Rings. Second lesson coming soon, unless I end up having way too much fun living out my days. 😉