The #1 Lesson I Learned This Year

A few months ago I wrote a post about the 11 Important Lessons I Learned This Year.    Each of the lessons really deserved more than the 16 words I gave the longest one so I started to unpack them. If you know me at all, you know that rather than thinking linearly, I think in circles, swirls and stars. Given this predilection, I decided to just write about the ones I had something to say more about when I had more to say.

After a summer filled with illness I decided I had more to say about one life lesson in particular.  In fact, I'd say it's the #1 lesson I learned this year.

#1 Today is the only one you have.

New? No. Trite? Maybe. But still.

Do you live as if today is the only one?

I know I certainly haven't. In fact I've wasted at least 50 days of my life laying around, immobilized by fears, eating potato chips and watching Meg Ryan movies.

I wasted at least 1,000 days in horribly negative situations or with negative people. I lived in a city that wasn't right for 2,920 days too long before finally finding the courage--or maybe just desperation--to move across the country to a city where I could breathe myself in fully. If you stretched out all the days I've wasted being worried, stressed out by negative situations, or even just wasting my time it'd probably run across the length of the United States. I used to regret all that time I spent being upset and not enjoying the moment. But then I realized that being upset about being upset was just silly. And, it's just going to ruin another day.

This summer I contracted Whooping Cough. It struck so hard and fast that I spent maybe a couple of hours out of bed each day for the entire month of July. I soon became bored with watching movies and so I just sat in silence for hours each day. Although the realization of the importance of each day had struck in June I still wasn't really living it. Somewhere near the end of July I started living each day as if it were the only day I had. Since then I've created many small miracles in my life:

  • I wrote more in two months than I have in a year.
  • I changed my spending habits so that I only spent money on things I absolutely love.
  • I spoke my mind even when I didn't know how it would turn out.
  • I stopped dating someone I really cared for because they only brought drama and heartache.
  • I booked a trip to Seattle and Portland--my first real vacation in two years.
  • I started taking better care of myself and am even learning to cook.

Life hasn't been all bon bons and trips to paris but I have enjoyed every day. In spite of being sick or not knowing when I might land my next client I found a part of every day that was spectacular. I can truly say that I've enjoyed the journey.

How about you?

Do you live as if today were the only one you have?

If you did, what might you do?