‘If you live each day as if it were your last, one day you’ll most certainly be right’ is a cynical pillorying of the well worn saying, or quote, or statement of advice – whatever you might call it - that has been around in popular kitsch posters and cards for a couple of decades.
That is, to “Live each day as though it’s your last”
Have a think about it.
Is this a realistic attitude?
The often popular quote that advises us to ‘live each day as though it’s our last’ suggests (IMHO) that we should try and do everything we ever wanted to do and everything we still need to do…all the ‘right’ things, like tell everyone we love that we LOVE THEM; to make amends for any wrongs and perhaps even try our best to make the world a better and happier place.
In other words, be loving and helpful.
But…is it realistic?
Would it be possible?
In Oliver Sack’s small book, ‘Gratitude’ – a collection of essays written in the last two years of his life - he writes (after the diagnosis of his terminal disease),’…I shall no longer look at News Hour every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.’ He assures the reader that this attitude is ‘..not indifference but detachment.’ And follows that there are still things he cares deeply about but they are in the future. (So, therefore, I suppose, no longer of concern to him).
During the writing of these essays, Olive Sacks is genuinely and knowingly in his ‘last days’.
But what about the other message? The message aimed at ‘everyone’?
The message urging us to ‘live each day as though it’s our last’ ?
Far more sensible and easier, if we were definitely living our last days, I suggest would be to do as Oliver Sacks did, in his genuine last days. That is, to ignore the latest TV news bulletins, to stop caring about the world’s problems and to ignore a lot of what does not intimately concern you.
Wow, wouldn’t that be nice at any time?
And, wouldn’t it be more realistic than the supposed message of the trite, ‘Live each day as though it’s your last’?
OR are there two distinct messages here?
One is the realistic approach to our ‘last days’ and the other is a gentle reminder to not leave things undone. And to always do what is right.
Sure, your death may be sudden and unexpected and it would be so nice if you could have had all your wishes accomplished before that big bus hit you
as you crossed the road. BUT, seriously, wouldn’t living each day as if it were your last be fairly irritating and disruptive to your daily productive life?
Whether you think it’s a good attitude to ‘live each day as if it’s your last’ or not….It does present a thinking point.
But, so do most other sayings and proverbs.
Meanwhile, not for any ‘last days’’ reason, but just for a break from the awfulness of the daily news feed, I will take on Oliver Sack’s idea and shall (for the time being) not look at the News every night and (also for the time being) no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.