Yea, yea, people say “live each day like it’s your last”. But I can’t. Maybe I’m too uptight, maybe I’m too responsible, I just can’t. If I’m going to truly live each day like it’s my last, I would do some pretty irreversible damage to my life. And I don’t even think my life is bad (my job makes me happy sometimes and I have some truly great friends). If today, however, was my last day, I’d take up most of my savings – which isn’t that much – and spend it all with those great friends on a day and night to remember (which I then won’t remember because, you know, it was my last day).
Is it a bad thing that I don’t live that way? No, because everything in the society I’m currently firmly rooted in is designed to make us live like there are still MANY days to come. We work for salary and aren’t paid at the end of each day, but at the end of each month. We pay rent/mortgages per month, we pay taxes per year. And if we’re truly going to make process as a society we’re probably going to have think bigger than the next day. And this required, I guess, for individuals to think like that too.
And yes… Sometimes that frustrates me. I guess our lives would be “richer” if we lived completely in the moment, taking each moment at face value. I can understand being mind-full and worry-free is much more satisfying than worrying you have to do “this and this and this”. But that’s not the reality for most people I know. Most people I know are right now building a career or private life like they were told to do when they were growing up. And some are doing something completely different – and that’s okay too. But nobody’s living like each day is their last.
In fact, a lot of people I know have just started their working life and feel like it’s all planned out. From here on out it’s a straight road towards career, family and retirement (if ever…). And I guess that’s not good either. Especially if you let the stress and responsibilities that come with that take over. I’ve had that, I know at least two friends who’ve had that. And I guess most of us have that at times. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether you’re able or need to buy a bigger/smaller house, I agree that much with living life like today’s your last day… But it’s unrealistic to say that these things don’t matter. Not unless you live like a true recluse in the middle of nowhere. When surviving is your daily life THAT’s when you live like it’s your last.
It may not be inspiring but the truth, I feel, is somewhere in the middle. Make the most of life, but if everything goes to plan there will be a tomorrow where you want to get a decent return on your “investments” (meaning friendships, jobs, hobbies and things like that – not so much financial ones). So make sure you can get those as well.
So what about the moments when friends urge you to “live a little”? YES! it’s good to let go and live a little. Choose the moments to go all-in and also the moments to opt-out. If you want it all, you’ll either end up tired and bitter or dead. I believe that life gets better if you do things the right way. So whenever friends tell me to live a little… I live a little. I live as if the next couple of days are pretty ordinary. They might not be. They might be awesome as well. But I don’t get disappointed if they’re not and I’m able to handle them if they are. They don’t need to be a recovery period, nor do they have to be a series of ultimate highs that come days too soon. And depending on the state of me I can still have a pretty good time.
In my life I value – outside of my personal well-being – friendship, music, family and work. After years of trying too hard to achieve everything I’m now engineering my life around those values. So yes I might be uptight and stressed out about tomorrow and next week and next year. That’s the way I roll. But when I realise that those four values are still present in my life, in the end, it feels like my life is getting better. And it only gets better.