There's a common piece of life for carpe diem, or embracing the day, that goes something like this: live each day as if it were your last. And, you know, that advice really strikes a nerve in me. I do not like that saying.
There's lots of things I find enjoyment in that I sure as heck wouldn't do if it were my last day on earth. For example, I've come to really enjoy sewing. I like the challenge of learning new patterns and the satisfaction from making a completed item from a piece of fabric. Recent conquests include a pillowcase and a tote bag for library books. But sewing is a hobby necessarily focused on the future, where today's work means tomorrow's gain. Not something I'd do if I knew the world (or simply my world) were ending. I also enjoy doing art, but that's again something that, while fun in the moment, is also more satisfying over time. Running is another hobby that isn't even very satisfying in the moment for me, but I enjoy going for a run because I know it will pay dividends over time. And how can I move on without mentioning work? I generally enjoy and appreciate my work, and I derive satisfaction from a good lesson. But work is still a means to an end (the paycheck) and not something I'd do on my last day ever.
I'm not sure what I'd chose to do on my last day. Go for a walk, for sure. Walks are something I find calming and enjoyable almost all of the time. I love to soak in nature, people watch, and feel the strength and movement of my body. These past few days, we've been visiting people in less-than-walkable neighborhoods, and I'm definitely feeling the lack of movement in my body and my soul. I'd also just spend time being close to the people I love in this world.
Through my mother's illness, it was easy for some family members to criticize how she spent her time. I myself would get frustrated when she slept away days and devoured entire seasons of shows on Netflix. But she never did know which day was her last, and she had lost the drive to produce for the future. She did take some time to square away her retirement accounts, and she also went through some boxes of pictures to label them for us. However, she left a lot of unfinished business as well and a lot of sorting that I've been doing and will likely continue to do for quite awhile.
I know the advice truly is trying to get at doing enjoyable things and not wasting our time on frivolity or pursuits we don't enjoy. And, truly, at the core, that is a good message. Maybe I should think more on that. I certainly spend more time than I'd like checking netflix or playing games I don't care about rather than engaging in the things I do love.
Still, in the dark of night, I think a lot about death these days. It's been really hard losing my mom, both for her loss and the constant reminder that I too will die one day. Hearing those inspirational messages, no matter how well intended, are another jerk to reality. This one particularly annoys me since I cannot really spend each day like it's my last, since having future days means preparation and planning.
What do my readers still think? I know there are a few of you out there. What are your thoughts on this phrase? Are there any inspirational messages that bother you?