If tomorrow never comes, will the people you love know how much you love them? If tomorrow never comes, will you have done what you really wanted to do in your lifetime? If tomorrow never comes, would you live today differently?
One day, tomorrow will not come. We all know that. We just assume that today will not be the day that this truth comes true. What would you do today if you knew it were your last? Maybe you have not thought about it very much. I have. Every day for the last few years. So perhaps I can suggest a few things.
1. Write letters to your loved ones
Tell them you love them. Tell them what you love about them. Tell them the specific shared moments you remember. Tell them how much you appreciate the little things they do that you usually don’t bother to thank them for. Tell them whatever is in your heart.
When you’re gone, your loved ones are left with only memories, and maybe photographs. But if they have a letter or note in your handwriting, they will have part of you to keep forever. Write a letter today. Start with the person you love most. When you next remember, write to the next person. And so on. Give it to them at once, or seal it so they will get it when you’re gone.
2. Forgive the unforgiven
You may be a rare saint who is at peace with everyone in your life. Most people are not and usually there is a person or a few that you refuse to see or speak to, even though you know that you care about them. Make a decision to forgive them, whether you tell them or not. Just throw out the negative thoughts you keep having about them, and replace them with thoughts like “He was trying his best” or “She is just showing love in her own way”.
You don’t have to set off fireworks to announce your magnanimous action. Just smile the next time you see the person. Or send them a birthday or Christmas card. Or include them in the next gathering that you’ve been excluding them from. It doesn’t really matter what the gesture is. They’ll understand. And whether or not they respond graciously, you will be at peace. Their response is their responsibility, not yours. Maybe they have issues with forgiveness too. You can show the way.
3. Spend time with those you love
No matter how busy you are, you can spend five minutes with someone in your family either in person or on the phone. And that doesn’t mean watching TV together. Ask them about their day and really listen. Offer to do something for them and ask them to name the task. Or just sit and look at them and if they ask why just say you love looking at them. Essentially this time lets them know how much they mean to you.
You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about people you think you know well when you really stop and pay attention. Try to notice something about them that you never noticed before. We all want somebody to witness our lives. You can be that witness for somebody today. And that person will feel less lonely because for five minutes, they really mattered to you.
4. Take a step towards your dreams
If you always wanted to write a book, then write just one page. If you want to pursue further education, fill out an application form. If you want to have your own business, sketch a rough business plan. If you want to marry, join a dating agency or website. If you want to be lean and fit, go for a jog. If you want to grow a garden, buy one plant. Just do something.
You see, chances are that tomorrrow will come for you. Just one more time. And maybe a few more times after that. So if you do a little bit everyday, those small steps will add up to a continuous and fruitful journey. And day by day, year by year, your dreams will start coming true. And you will love your life.
And if tomorrow does not come? Then you would have done what really mattered today. You would have lived a day worth living. That’s the only way I want to live. And I hope you will too.
This is Part 3 of a 4-part series: