If you had 18 months to live, what would you do?

Over the weekend I was sick and left with nothing to do but sit on the couch, watch TV, try to eat, and watch the piles of trash grow. Sometimes it’s really nice being single. Being sick? Not one of those times. With all that time on my hands I had lots of time to think about stuff and this is one of the things that kept coming to mind. Not specifically the “if you had 18 months to live” part as I don’t know of any reason why I should die in the near future; but the part about “what would you do” differently with your life gave me a lot of reasons to think.

So the questions stands. Lets say you faint one day and they take you to the doctor just to be checked out. During the checkup the doctor finds something wrong with you and must give you the unfortunate news that you have a terminal illness that can’t be cured. You have 18 months to live, the last 6 of which you will likely spend in the hospital slowly fading away. Now that you have returned home you must decide what to do now. You essentially have 12 months left to live life. Do you just keep going the way you have been or would you change the way you’ve been living.

I think we would all say that we’d change the way we’ve been living our lives. It’s natural to decide that we want “the most out of life” and try to “live life to the full” if we realize that we are going to die. I don’t mean we want to go run around spending money we don’t have because we don’t have to worry about paying it off. But haven’t we always wanted to take a road trip across the U.S.? Haven’t we wanted to travel to another country? Didn’t we always want to do one thing or another? We intended to spend more time with our family, right? We meant to make it to more of those family dinners. Our plan was to hang out with our friends instead of working late to get that extra buck. It was our intention… We planned… We wanted… But we just never got around to actually doing it did we?

But why should we want to change the way we live? Doesn’t that mean we aren’t happy with the way are are currently living? I mean, you don’t change something that’s perfect, right?

I won’t say I’ve always wanted to travel to another country. It’s outside my comfort zone. But I have always thought it would be fun to go. I have, however, always thought going on a backpacking trip would be a lot of fun. Spending a week out hiking and camping with nothing but what I can carry. I’ve always wanted to help people. I have a servant’s heart, I find joy in doing simple tasks for others to make their lives easier. Because of that I’ve thought many times that I would enjoy helping out in a soup kitchen or with some similar group that helps people who don’t have enough.

If I was told that I was going to die, I think I would try to do as many of those things as I could in the time I had left. I wouldn’t be able to do everything I would like since I don’t have that much money. But I would sure try to do as many of the things I have always wanted to do but “just never got around to it.”

So why should I change the way I live? I’ve been on this world for 30 years. I would say that means I’m at-least half way through my “useful” life, in terms of what I can accomplish. I mean, I really don’t expect to be going backpacking out in the wild when I’m 60. So if I’m this far along in my life and haven’t accomplished anything in my life that I would like to; doesn’t that mean I don’t care about doing those things? So again, why should I change and suddenly start trying to do a bunch of stuff that I’m not already trying to do.

Why am I not already doing the things I’d like to do? Why do I wake up, go to work, go home and then sit on the couch until I go to bed and start all over again the next day. There are things I want to do. So why should I wait? Why am I not doing them now?

Why should each of us not be doing the things we want to do? Why do we waste away worrying about today, worrying about tomorrow, worrying about every little thing. What we should really be doing is living for today. Living for tomorrow. Living for every little thing. We still need to keep all the other things in mind, but we can’t make worrying the thing we live for.

For me, I have the chance to go to Africa on a missions trip with some I.T. guys from a few other churches early next year. Our goal is to help a school and hospital in Kenya get a new phone system installed (although maybe it is just a phone system as I’m not sure if they currently have one).  I don’t know how it will turn out. I don’t know if I will end up glad that I went. But I’m tired of just sitting around thinking of the things that I would like to do. Instead I want to do some things.

There are other things I’d like to do. Other things I think I’m going to try to actually do.  I know I can’t just do them all at once, but I want to make an effort. I want to try to live my life doing things instead of just thinking about things I’d like to do.

I want to change the way I live so that if a doctor ever tells me that I won’t be alive in 18 months I will be able to smile and say “so what? It won’t change the way I live.”

1 comment for “If you had 18 months to live, what would you do?

  1. C
    February 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Daniel,
    I love your heart! God has been telling me for awhile that it’s time to live again & it’s been too long that I’ve forgotten what it looks like, feels like…. So, as the song says “Live Like You Were Dying”…. Today I break the routine of the mundane & step out into the unfamiliar. I will be thinking of you & praying for you!!! The journey of a lifetime begins with a single step…..You are on your way!!!!!! Thanks for the inspiration!
    c

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