The Countdown: Living Intentionally

One day about a year ago, I was sitting with my family when we thought we heard someone setting off fireworks. It was a bit of an odd time for someone to be doing this, but we didn’t think too much of it.

Later, we found out that they weren’t fireworks. A young man had been shot and killed just two blocks from us. Those three shots that we heard were at a house that we walk past multiple times a week. The shooter then ran up the street that at that time, I walked along three times a week, killing two more people on his way.

In fact, later that very same day, I would have walked past the very place where those three people were killed. If the shooter had decided to go out several hours later, I would have been in his direct path.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Live like it’s your last day”.

I don’t think that’s quite right. Because statistically, it’s not likely that you will die tomorrow. But, at the same time, there’s always a chance that you will. But I still think it’s important to live intentionally. So, if this isn’t the right statement, how should we live?

To answer this question, I want you to imagine something. Think of the last person that drove you nuts. Maybe a friend, family member, or a random stranger. How would you treat them if today was your last day? Would you be kinder? I don’t think I would. I wouldn’t even want to be around them. After all, I shouldn’t have to deal with any annoyance the last day of my life, right?

But what if today was that person’s last day alive?

That definitely changes something, doesn’t it?

So, what if we change that statement to this. Live like it’s everyone else’s last day.

I think that part of living a good life is relationship and connection. Humans are built to be social and we are fulfilled with good social interaction. The above statement keeps this in mind and forces us to live intentionally.

However, we must also be aware of our own mortality. After all, there is a reason why the “Live like it’s your last day” phrase exists. After that shooting two blocks from my house, I decided to make something to remind myself to live this way.

That’s where those numbers at the top of this post come in.

22639.

This is how many days I have left. Yes, it’s probably not accurate, but I factored in the average life expectancy of a US citizen and subtracted the days I’ve lived so far.

Sobering, isn’t it?

We must live with the end in mind. Because we have no idea how many days we really have left. That number doesn’t seem like a lot of days to me — and I only get one life. But that’s true for everyone around me. That forces us to take life a day at a time and to live purposefully, intentionally, compassionately.

So do it. I want you to change the way you interact with people. Be thinking, what if this were my last conversation with this person? It’s definitely changed the way I treat people.

I find myself being kinder.

I’m thinking about others.

I’m living intentionally.

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