Life is Short

I’m a planner by nature. Long term, short term. Everything gets planned out. It is a rare day that does not begin with making a to-do list. I have my finances planned out to the penny. I have my future children planned out to the date of birth. But recent life events have left me wondering whether I have spent too many hours planning and too few doing.

Relatives have passed away from cancer, others have been lost to other illnesses or had life-changing medical challenges. Today, I found out that an author I have worked with, David DuChemin, was recently terribly injured while taking photos in Italy. Luckily, he will recover after surgery and a long rest. This incident reminded me of a recent blog post David had written in which he called on his readers to complete this sentence: Life is short, and therefore I will… David chose to complete the sentence by selling his home and belongings and setting out for a nomadic world tour, capturing photographs and experiences along the way.

I have struggled with how to complete my version of that sentence. I keep finding myself rationalizing things I’ve already done or continue to do. Life is short, so I will spend time with family. I see my family almost daily. Life is short, so I will travel. I’ve done a fair amount of traveling and while I love it, I don’t think I would regret not having been to Russia or Fiji if i knew my time on Earth was almost up. I’m trying to look in my mind and discover what I would regret if today was my last day here. The only thing that comes to mind is that I would wish I would have had children. That may sound irritatingly domestic, but that is the most striking thing that comes to mind.

I remember hearing about how my aunt chose to live her last days when she found out she had cancer and there were only a few months or days left. She didn’t make elaborate travel plans or finish a memoir. She spent her last days doing the quiet things she had enjoyed all her life. She played Scrabble with her husband or had her children over for dinner. She gathered her family close to her to tell them how much she loved them, and she did that from the comfort of the home they had shared together.

So as I consider how to complete the sentence, I’m finding that it doesn’t matter much where I go or what I see as long as the time is spent with the ones I love.

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