I get an iTunes card for Christmas every year. And every year, several months later, I make time to sit down by the computer for my yearly download event (during the rest of the year, my daughter supplies me with the latest and greatest tunes). Yesterday was the 2010 edition of this event.
One of the songs I downloaded was Nickelback’s “If Today Was Your Last Day.” I sometimes watch VH1 while I work out and this video leaves me in tears every time it plays. If you haven’t seen it, go to YouTube and watch it. It is amazingly gripping.
The song asks the listener what he or she would do if today was his or her last day. Here are some of my favorite lines:
If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?
Every time I hear this song, I’m reminded that life is short. Too short for hate and anger. Too short for injustice and violence. Too short for pettiness and grudge. But long enough for love, friendship, equality, and joy.
I know for sure what I wouldn’t be doing if today was my last day. I wouldn’t spend a minute in a meeting. I wouldn’t spend time in my car. I probably wouldn’t even blog! Rather, I would seek out my favorite people, eat good food, laugh, help someone, give lots of hugs, go for a bike ride, and definitely donate every dime I had.
Why do we wait? Why do we let life waste away and allow our days to become consumed by minutia, sharp verbal exchanges, stress, emptiness, and selfishness? I think about all the people in this country who are filled with such hatred and anger against our government’s attempt to provide healthcare for all. If today was their last day, would they be yelling at congresspeople and senators? I don’t think so. If today was my last day, would I raise my voice at my precious daughter? Nope. If today was your last day, would you stay in the rat race? Only you can answer that.
Of course, some would argue that we can’t live every day like it was our last. What about saving for retirement? College for the kids? Maintaining a healthy and sustainable lifestyle? Those are all good things. However, it shouldn’t become our sole purpose in life. Life is about living, not looking forward to retirement and counting every calorie. I cannot imagine a more depressing scenario than waking up at age 65 and realizing that my life was just about getting to this point.
Take action: Hug someone, tell a friend she’s awesome, buy groceries for an elderly neighbor, give excess money to help people across the world get out of poverty, call your mom, read your child a bedtime story, make love to your significant other like it was the first time, start working toward that career you always dreamed about, stand up for what you believe, pray, dance, live.