Monthly Archives: September 2013

What Would You Do If You Only Had 24 Hours to Live?

This question has been tossed around in books, movies, tv shows and the like. It is a question that deals with the happy notion of unlimited possibilities and yet the negative reality of death.

Now, the scenarios below suggest that if money and all other constraints except time were not a factor, then what would you do? Meaning if I there is an option for you to go halfway around the world because that’s what you want to do on your last day, then do it without thinking of money or circumstance, just the value of time.

 So here are four things that you can do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live:

 

1)   Do what you’ve always wanted to do but never had a chance

Life has made each and everyone of us so busy that we don’t get to do a lot of things. If you’re one of the few lucky people who actually get to do what they want for a living, then that’s great, but as for the vast majority, a sick leave or an absent day usually means a day to do whatever you want.

 Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel to Japan and eat authentic sushi or maybe you wanted to go to Hollywood and meet celebrities. Again, if money is not a constraint on your very last day on earth, wouldn’t you do what you’ve always wanted? Maybe it’s a singular act or a couple of things on your mind but the point is that now is the chance to do it. 

 2)   Go totally crazy

 Our generation of youth has devised this so-called YOLO mentality wherein you’re supposed to live in the moment because we only have one chance to live (hence the term YOLO, creative…right?) In this particular scenario, you don’t have an entire lifespan to go YOLO but you have exactly 24 hours to live. Now this is a perfect excuse to go berserk and the people around you can’t judge you because you only have one day left so why not maximize it to the fullest right?

 I mean go crazy: tell your crush your feelings, skydive, surf the highest wave, have your favorite band play for your last night, eat the best meal of your life without counting the calories, and many many more.

 You know how people have lists like “Things to do before I’m 30” or a Bucket List? But this 24 hour window shatters that idea because now you don’t have a couple of years to do it. In this brief day, how would you concise that list and do all of them?

3)   Tell people what you never had a chance to say in person and vice versa

In Mitch Albom’s novel Tuesdays with Morrie, there’s a part of the story wherein Morrie (his dying mentor) had an idea of having a “live funeral” for him. The concept is that in this type of funeral, friends and relatives get a chance to speak so that the dying person can listen of what they thought of him versus the traditional way in funerals wherein people only get to say that kind of stuff when the person is already dead. The cool thing about it was that Morrie was not only able to listen to all of his loved ones, but he also got a chance to say what was on his mind.

In this 24 hour life span you have, you can gather your close friends and relatives and tell them what you’ve always told them. You may ask, why would I need that? I know my parents love me, I know my friends love me too so why bother? Trust me, in the face of death, things can change. There are a bunch of other emotions probably lingering in each of your relationships. There can be anger, forgiveness, regret, and a lot more emotions that make us human that both parties haven’t said out loud yet. Plus, I’m sure you have long lost friends and maybe even ex girlfriends that you always wanted to talk to or hear their side of the story. 

4)   Be normal. Live today as you’ve always lived

“Live each day as if it were your last.”

If anyone did follow this saying, the world will be totally different, believe me. We use quotes and proverbs from different people but if we really did live by them, our lives wouldn’t be boring and dull. If you really did live each day as if it were your last, then knowing you’ve got only a day to live shouldn’t shock you. If you have a righteous routine and maximize all the potential around you everyday, you won’t have to spend all your energy trying to squeeze all the things you want to do in a single day.

 

Personally, #4 or at least #3 is what I want to do, but if I can’t, there’s always the choice of doing #1 and try to be a superhero for a day.

 

So if you had only 24 hours to live, what would you do?

Advertisements

Are We Really That Old?

Age has and always will be a touchy subject. Particularly for grown ups that is. It is amazing that when we were young all we can think about is our next birthday and growing up but as adults we do everything we can to stay young.

I believe people generally worry about age because time is moving too fast and life is simply just too short. Age represents a certain period in our lives and if you’re age doesn’t match what we’re “supposed” to have achieved at this particular time, we feel old and at a loss. I put in quotations the word supposed because I believe this perception is pressed on us by society. We see celebrities, pioneers, and great thinkers of our time and match our lives to them. We aspire to be them in terms of achievements but not only that, but also in terms of how old they were able to achieve them.

What do we do then? I say set your own pace and your own goals. It’s true that life is short and we try to achieve everything because we always think time is running out. But don’t get bummed out if you’re not doing one thing at a certain time and at a certain age. I’m not saying it’s wrong to aspire for something more out of your life but you also have to appreciate everything that you have now. There’s a time to overachieve and a time to settle and you have to balance that out. Fall Out Boy’s song Rat a Tat puts it this way:

We’re all fighting growing old

We’re all fighting growing old

In the hopes to get a few minutes more to get on St. Peter’s List

But you need to lower your standards

Cause it’s never getting any better than this

Now it’s up to you admit that this has all life to offer or on the other hand you know in your heart that there’s more. At the same time, I say it’s also okay to grow up. Old people aren’t kidding when they say you mature and grow wisdom in the future (Though there are immature and childish old ones here and there). I mean think about it, do you really want to be stuck at a certain age? Stuck in high school? College? Or even a person below 30? You are where you’re supposed to be. Believe it.

Yes we’re that old, but we’re also that young at the same time. Age does not dictate what you can still do or what you haven’t done. It’s a reminder, a reminder telling us that life is too short not follow our dreams. When you’re alarmed at your age, your soul is merely telling you to do what you said you’d do. It may simple silly things to learn how to cook, how to drive, or even start a blog. Worse, you’re age is telling you stop pushing aside your goals in life to start a business, start a family, or just something you put your commitment to. Cheesy as this may sound but our age helps us remember to follow our hearts and essentially our dreams. So stop counting, and just live.

Why Write?

Whenever I think of writing, my mind goes back to the movie Finding Forrester. It was about an acclaimed but detached writer William Forrester and a young man named Jamal Wallace who was searching for his own place in life. I love the dynamic of their relationship and how they both helped each other figure out how to go through their situations. The movie also talks a great deal about writing and how to put words from your mind and heart into writing.

In one of the first scenes wherein Forrester teaches Jamal how to write, Forrester simply says that when you do a first draft, you do so with your heart and then rewrite it with your head. Meaning just say whatever you have to say when you write and leave the thinking for later. And that’s one of the things I love about writing is that you get what you actually want to say in clear and concise words. Of course there are benefits from saying things in front of a person or public speaking in general but there’s also a certain clarity in written words. The writer must have chosen specific words to describe what he or she is feeling at that particular time. Even in great speeches by politicians and leaders, I’m sure they’ve had written that before they said it publicly not unless it’s an impromptu speech.

There’s also the power of what I call “freezing the moment” when you write. Whatever the writer puts down in paper indicates a particular emotion at a given time. For instance, let’s say a girl writes to a boy that she loves her, it emulates that in that particular day of the month, in that year, in that moment, the girl loves the boy. It doesn’t say for how long or for whatever circumstance. Whether or not they end up in the long run can be considered irrelevant at my example because every single time the boy goes back to the letter, he can always remember that the girl loved him even for just a brief moment in history.

This so-called freezing the moment also brings me to another point of writing is that it gives what I call a different sense of the word “now.” As I am writing this “now,” it will be different when the reader reads this later or in the reader’s perspective, his or her “now.” It’s like sharing in the moment though both are happening at different set of time. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but its vagueness is kind of the whole concept of it.

I write because I can. Some people can be lawyers, doctors, make music, run really fast, do good business, market products, and the like. I’m not saying one person should only have one talent, but in fact, people can be whoever they want to be. You just have to find your own thing and stick with it.

American running legend Steve Prefontaine sums it up best:

“Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.”

This is what I want to achieve when I write.