Our days are numbered, but most of us don’t know what our number is. Some of us are given an approximate number with the news of a terminal illness. I don’t want to know that experience. Ignorance is, well, maybe not bliss, but better than knowing.
Or is it? If I had the choice, would I rather know that I have one week left before something ends my life here on Earth? What would I do differently, how would I spend my time, if I knew how many days I had left to spend here?
Some years ago, I was given incorrect information from my doctor’s office that frightened me into what-if thoughts. Fortunately, that information was corrected within a week, but in that week’s time, I did some serious soul-searching.
When I learned of the nurse’s mistake, I was both relieved and furious. Relieved to learn of the mistake, and furious at the carelessness that had caused me to feel frightened, barely able to sleep, distracted on the job, unable to concentrate on anything else.
I let the anger go quickly, with gratitude for a new lease on life. I approached every new day with gratitude for life and everyone in it. I adopted the attitude of a man I’d worked with briefly on a special project. Whenever he was greeted with the standard “Hi, how are you?”, he replied, “It’s the best day of my life.” And he lived his words.
My attitude of absolute gratitude didn’t last long enough. Eventually, I let disappointments and aggravations get to me again. Even when I put on a happy face for the public, I felt the weight of things I allowed to trouble me. My attitude of gratitude was not consistent, far from it. I was more aware of what was missing, instead of what I had.
Now, as I turn the page and start a new chapter in the book of life, the chapter that begins with retirement, I strive to approach each new day as if it’s the best day of my life, with profound and sincere gratitude for the gift of another day to make a difference. No excuses.