Something about turning 36 last year made me feel like I’m almost 40 instead of barely 30.
Feeling that made me feel like I suddenly had less life in front of me than I have behind me.
Feeling that made me start really scrutinizing where my life currently is, how it has built to this, and what might still be ahead.
That scrutinization made me, for the first time in quite a while, really be honest with myself about what my current reality is. In an attempt at honesty with myself, I journaled and rated different areas of my life that I believe contribute to lasting happiness and contentment.
That journaling admittedly made me depressed because, well… Honesty sucks sometimes:
Long, long story very short…
In the midst of all this self-realization, scrutinization, honesty, and journaling blablabla, I started watching the show No Tomorrow on Netflix. Watch it if you haven’t. The premise is simple. Awkward girl meets charming mathematician guy who is living his life to the fullest because he believes an astroid is going to hit the Earth on a very specific day in the not so distant future. He has a list (which she begins as well) of things he wants to do before mankind is wiped out.
By the end of the season, something beautiful had begun to eat at me from the inside like a cute little rabid bunny.
I needed to start living. I needed to stop trying to find love, waiting to start all the adventures I’ve been holding off hoping for a partner to do them with. I needed to stop expecting happiness and health to somehow fall in my lap. I needed to get out and stop thinking about what life isn’t, and start learning anew what life really is.
I needed to go see the world and take my child to go see the world. I needed to take impromptu trips to see distant lands and distant friends. I needed to care less about money and security and more about teaching my son to live life. I needed to learn how to do things I’ve always wanted to learn. I needed to take classes, lessons, and seminars. I needed to join groups, and talk to more strangers, and experience more cultures.
I needed to watch less TV, waste less time on the Internet, and not be so focused on work. I needed to break free of bad habits, and rising addictions, and unhealthy people.
I needed to rediscover my love for some of my greatest hobbies like photography and art.
I needed to teach my son that there is far more to life than video and board games. I needed to take him to see that there is far more to the world than what is here in Utah.
I mean… What if?
What if I die tomorrow? What if I die in a week, or a month, or a year?
What if NASA did suddenly announce that an unavoidable astroid was headed toward us?
What if I get hit by a train? What if a freak tornado sucks me out of my apartment window in the middle of the night? What if I find out in three months I have a terminal disease?
How would I feel if…
My last day on Earth was spent binge-watching some show on Netflix?
Or I wake up and realize I’m 80 and never did all the things I’d love to have done in my life?
Or I realize at my son’s graduation that I wasted a lot of good years?
Or… Hmmm. What if…
I started living my life under the assumption that I somehow had only 365 days left to live?
Or the assumption that I had 365 days left to teach my son everything I could about life and show him as much of the world as I could before our time together was up?
Or the assumption that in 365 days the world is indeed going to end?
I don’t know, but…
I’m going to do it.
I’m going to live life like I’ve only got 365 days left to live.
I’m going to pretend like my time is running out.
I’m going to do things that are scary to do, spend money that’s scary to spend, and go places that are scarily outside my comfort zone.
And I’m going to find out…
Just how many of those bars on my graph I can change for the better.
I’m going to find out if living like the end is coming will help me sleep better, eat better, exercise more consistently, and be less depressed and anxious.
I’m going to find out if deleting the dating apps on my phone, and taking myself out into the world will decrease my loneliness (and who knows, maybe even increase my chance of meeting someone organically).
I’m going to find out if I will have more energy, less dependency on pills, and more zest for life.
I’m going to find out if I have talents where I’ve always suspected I might.
I’m going to find out if my energy increases even as my body ages.
I’m not waiting until tomorrow. What if tomorrow never comes?
I have all sorts of things I planned to do tomorrow yesterday, but still haven’t done.
No more of that. My to-do list is going to have more meaning than ever before.
I plan to bring you all along for the ride. I may not blog every day. My blog posts about it may be delayed a few days. But I’ll share how it goes. The posts will all have the hashtag #365DaysToLive. That’s what I’m calling this little one year project.
I plan to keep being honest about every area of my life that I shared above. I plan to let you all be part of the experiment and know just where I am mentally, emotionally, and physically all along the way.
Some days I’ll be doing teeny tiny things. Other days I’ll be doing majorly exciting and awesome things. All of the things I’ll be doing will come from a list that I’ve been building for a couple weeks now, as I sort my feelings out about all of this.
Don’t just join me for the blog posts. Join me for the journey.
Share in the comments of my posts what you did that day or that week to live under the assumption that we don’t have much time left.
Start making your own lists!
Spread ideas in the comments. Share adventures. Give insight. Hand out epiphanies.
This will be so much better if so many of us are doing it together. That being said, I can’t wait around for anyone else to join me. Do it if you’re going to. I am jumping into this head first.
Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog