I happened upon a tweet this morning linked to a blog about coming to the end. The writer posed a question about how one might spend a final day on earth, if given only twenty-four hours to live. Would someone in this position, with knowledge that the clock was running out, continue on the mundane path and inevitable finality or would time stand still with boundless opportunity truly live those final moments?
Deciding how to spend those final fleeting hours would be difficult as I do not know the cause of my demise. Am I ill? Or like the upcoming movie In Time will my clock simply stop? For the purpose of this post I will conclude that the last day for me to live free of physical or emotional discomfort. It is a day without worry of disease or injury, incident or happenstance. Knowing that time is short is the only moment we may be truly immortal. In that moment, when we know the outcome, there is no fear for the future. Only the present matters. Being replaced all other things in order of importance.
I know that I would arise early. Probably before the rest of my family. Coffee would be made, per the usual routine and I would greet the day by gently waking the rest of the family. Or maybe I would let them sleep a while longer and go for a run in the predawn stillness. As I run past homes still in slumber, or with kitchen lights just flickering on, I often wonder what is in store for that person, that family, that household. Is it a day for living, or another day of simply existing?
Since I have only twenty four hours there is no time for grand plans. No major sight seeing or jaunts to far off lands and sights as yet unseen. This day will probably be filled with the familiar. I will most likely stick with the comfortable, the activities that make me feel alive and power-filled.
If I could do any two things (since this is my post and I deserve to be selfish on my last day) I would spent the day with my wife and daughters and I would run as much as possible. Maybe they would bike along side me. I would run till tired. Occasionally I would stop to rest and take time to hold each one individually, giving them alternating turns being held close and warm. Grayha, adventurous and inquisitive, living life out loud. Lochlyn, passionate for reading and introspective. Lastly, Andria. The one that stood by me, sometimes confused by me, but always in love with me. She is the one I most hate to disappoint. [As I neared the end of Lumberjack in April, as I comtemplated dropping out well short of my one hundred mile goal, deciding how to break the news to Andria caused me the most grief.]
I really don't have any final meal requests. No last kick ass beer of choice. Probably wouldn't ask for that tumbler of Johnny Walker Blue I always hoped to taste.
Just me and my girls moving headlong to the abyss...
Now, someone may wonder what the fuck I am doing considering such a topic. Is this a veiled plea for help? Am I setting up a scenario to intentionally end my life? On the contrary! We get so rushed and harried in the pursuit of things that do not matter in the course of our existence that we often forget the very reason we are here - to be in community with each other, whether it is just in a small group friends or family, or larger circles in society. People constantly bark - my wife included - that we have no time, like the white rabbit slipping down the hole to Wonderland, we chase and pursue and rarely live in any moment.
Over that past few years life has been slowing down somewhat. I am seeing what is important. I cannot always provide for life's necessities, or provide to the degree required, but I am realizing what I need to be me, and to be of value to those reliant upon me.
I do hope that my final moment comes on a warm summer day, with long hours of sunshine and warm breezes. Maybe we take in one last sunset, one more chance to witness the ever changing color palette of natural wonder.
As might comes upon me, and the veil of darkness falls, I take my rest knowing that I moved closer to being someone of substance, integrity and conviction. Even though the past year or two has seen greater emotional trauma I believe I am stronger know for it. I believe I have a better sense of what is important to me, a keener sense of direction even if I am not sure of the ultimate destination.
I simply know the footing of this path feels right.
How would you live if given the knowledge of only one day?