As a result of my many brushes with death, I make a serious attempt to live every day to its fullest, knowing full well that my existence could end at any time. I have constructed a life in which I attempt to get the most out of each day and not wasting time on immaterial and unimportant matters.
This means that I am a planned procrastinator, putting off tasks until they need to be finished in order to take better advantage of the day. If I have three weeks to complete an assignment, I will wait until the last possible moment before starting the work, fearful that I may spend my final day on Earth working on a task that did not need to be finished for days or even weeks. This does not mean that I miss deadlines or fail to complete tasks. It simply means that I finish them at the deadline. I work efficiently and quickly, but I do not believe in completing tasks any earlier than necessary. Though this might be stressful for some, I’m not the kind of person who worries about getting things done, either. Perspective like mine tends to eliminate most worries.
I also do not enjoy sleep, viewing it as a waste of precious time.
I attempt to structure my life in a way to maximize efficiency. I am hyper-organized, because doing so saves time. I am a minimalist, because things tend to clutter a person’s life and distract from the important.
I play through pain, even when resting my shoulder or elbow or even knee for a season might help it heal faster. I fear that the summer that I spend away from the golf course or the basketball hoops might be my last, so I’d rather play in pain then not play at all.
I fill my life with activities, projects, jobs, and people. Too much at times, but I know that our time is short and I must make the most of it.
These are just a few ways in which I attempt to live every day like it is my last.
Oddly enough, many of my friends mock this belief, finding the decision to live as if I am on the precipice of existence ridiculous. Many believe that my planned procrastination is a ruse used in order to avoid work. In explaining this philosophy to one of my wife’s friends just yesterday, she said, “Hey. That’s a good one. I’ll have to use it sometime.”
It’s not a good one. It’s a way of life, and it’s one that is espoused by many but followed by very few.
As odd as I may seem to my friends, I find it equally odd that someone would mock me for attempting to live by a code to which almost everyone finds merit even if they do not live by it themselves.
Is there really anything wrong with living as if today is your last?
This morning, I was listening to Philippe Petit on NPR’s Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me. Petit is a French high wire artist who gained fame for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in New York City on August 7, 1974. He is also an author and an artist among many other things.
A fabulous children’s book was written about his World Trade Center walk entitled THE MAN WHO WALKED BETWEEN THE TOWERS.
Petit espoused a belief very similar to my own during his interview with Peter Sagal, and while Sagal was respectful, he also mocked Petit’s belief.
“I am entangled in too many passions. I don’t know how to use the miserable hours that we have in a day. Am I going to write my next book? Am I going to plan my next high wire walk? I’m very frustrated that I am forced to sleep a few hours and stop here and there to eat and drink. What a waste of time.”
“Yes!” I screamed from the confines of my car. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Someone who gets it.
But doesn’t everyone get it?
Even if they do not adhere to this philosophy, isn’t it one that can be understood and appreciated by all?
And yet (for reasons that I don’t quite understand) mock those who do?