What would you do if you knew you had only 1 week left to live?
That’s the question a friend asked me yesterday.
It’s an interesting and powerful question.
Because none of us really know how much time we have left.
There is no guarantee we will be here tomorrow.
There is no certainty that we will have another week or another day.
And there is something very sobering about comparing our current life to the backdrop of the perspective that we could disappear next week.
So what would you do?
For me, and I think for many of us, we’d answer the “what” question by saying we’d spend time with our loved ones, pig out on all our favorite foods and restaurants, and do a bunch of things we’ve always wanted to do – like take a trip or engage in some special experience.
And while I think there is value in evaluating the question “what” we would do, I’m not sure in most scenarios that it would be wise to immediately change our behavior drastically towards actually doing all of those things.
Spending time with your friends and family – sure – we all probably want more of that and could probably do a better job of doing more of it. But as far as dropping all of our obligations, engaging all of our favorite indulgences, and just blowing whatever money we have on whatever crazy experiences we could think of doesn’t set us up in the best way in case we do get to live to see another week.
So the real question is not, “‘What’ would you do if you had 1 week left to live?” The more pointed and pragmatically guiding question is, “‘How’ would you live if you knew you had only 1 week left?”
My guess is you would probably do things like:
Tell the people closest to you how much they matter.
Let go of some of the grudges you’ve been holding onto.
Say you’re sorry for some of the mistakes that you’ve made.
Make an effort to really appreciate the people who have helped you along the way.
Be intentional about who you would leave all of your assets to or use them in a way to help others in need.
Cast a vision of what you would hope for the future of those around you.
Spend time with the people whom you thought you could most impact.
Try to create some things that would be evidence that you were here and that would last in your absence.
Most of all, you would savor the joy of every single moment and you would value the gift so much that you would maximize each and every second by doing something intentional to make contributions to the world that mattered.
You would Love
You would Forgive
You would Apologise
You would Thank
You would Give
You would Dream
You would Help
You would Build
You would Encourage
And the best part of that list is there is no reason you have to wait.
You can do those things now!