I’ve had many lasts recently, and I find with things I do and people I see, I’m thinking, this could be the last time. I’m not feeling negative, just realistic. I was lucky enough to have another healthy and happy birthday, and each year brings thoughts of, “This could be it.” Truthfully, it could be—I don’t know when I might take a bad fall, get sick, or experience a natural disaster. Neither do you.
In many ways, the mindset is a good thing. I find myself more attentive to the present moment–what I see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. I choose to do or not do something, knowing I might not get another chance. I unconsciously want to take it all in just in case I don’t get to see a particular person, place, or event again.
What’s taken me so long? Why didn’t I always devour the detail of a person’s face, or the taste of rich wine, or the freedom of breathing, walking, and choosing?
I don’t know; maybe I forgot there are no guarantees of another sunset, happy giggle, or compassionate conversation.
I often read about being in the present, enjoying the moment, blah, blah, but as I get older, I realize I should have taken it seriously. I can’t do it over, but if I could, I would start earlier in life and have more vivid memories longer.
It’s daunting to think of the complexity of life because it includes everything: health, relationships, achievements, contributions—everything. When we have it, we have it; when we don’t, it’s gone.
I’m not saying we should approach moments with, “Oh, this could be the last time, eek.” As I age, the statement takes on a new meaning. It suddenly makes sense, and I live my days differently. I feel pressure to make and check off a bucket list. I don’t often waste my time doing what I don’t want and I try to live my standards and expectations. I’m conscious of making my last days easier on my kids. I now have a will, I have written who gets particular belongings, my chosen executor knows my passwords and account numbers, and I have sold or given away stuff that I don’t love, love or need.
I think my house is clean in most aspects, bringing me peace. I’ve had a great life, and I don’t want to mess it up by not being ready for the last of my lasts. However many quality days or years I have left, please know I’m paying attention and taking my time.
I hope you are too.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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