Letter No 54 - If today were my last day...

"Live as though today were your last today". We have all heard this being said at sometime or the other. It’s a motivational speaker’s ultimate weapon - a kind of a ‘brahma-astra’.

I've been wondering what it actually means. What would I do if I knew for sure that today is going to be my last day. Would I go out and complete all my pending jobs - pay my electricity bills, reply to all my emails, clean up my cupboards, and call that plumber to fix the bathroom leakage that my wife has been nagging me about for days on end? Or would I complete my goals, file my income tax returns, have some more meetings, and do some more work? Or would go on a shopping spree, eat some of that expensive sushi, and watch some of the Netflix shows I’ve been craving for? Or would I not send my kids to school, ask all my close people to skip work and come home, and spend the entire day reminiscing with a sense of sweet sadness?

I asked myself this question yesterday, and a funny thing happened. First thing I did was to switch off my mobile phone. I was in the car. Then, I just looked outside the window and stared. I looked at all the people walking about busily going about their everyday business. I looked at the trees and the buildings. I saw the colours, shapes, textures and movements. I became very acutely aware of everything around. My wife was sitting next to me. I looked at her. It seemed like it had been a long time since I just looked at her, really saw her. I had a slight tear in my eye. I smiled at her in a way I haven’t for a very long time. And that’s it, no words were exchanged.

I had to complete some work. I looked at the task. I slowed down. That mad rush to do more and more was missing. I completed the job slowly. My niece wanted me to come with her to take her dog to the vet. I went. I walked slowly, with the gait of a stroll in the park. I held the dog. I looked into her eyes as she was given saline. I chatted with the doctor’s assistant and made him smile. I wasn’t waiting to get done with it and get on to the next thing. I wasn’t replying to WhatsApp messages. I was fully there. I connected with my niece at a basic human level and it felt good. Later, I was with my mother. I just sat next to her and felt her presence. My sister visited in the evening and was chatting with my wife. I just looked at her and listened to her. I just saw her. I felt grateful. I felt grateful for everything I had received.

I had slowed down. And strangely, more was happening. I was experiencing life deeper, with a kind of a higher ‘resolution’. More detail. More colour. More care. More love. And, more gratitude and less resentment. There was no time for hurt, ill feelings or disappointment.

Live each day as your last, I'd really like to live this way- every single day. Urge you to do the same, no matter how tough, how frustrating, how impossible it feels.

And... eat some good food while you are at it :-)