The end is near

Ed
Ed Smith
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"Live each day as though it were the last day of your life." What a wonderful and inspiring thought. What a beautiful way to begin each new day. What a great strategy for enriching the lives of all around us.

What complete and totally unadulterated BS.

Bet you've heard it 1,000 times. Motivational speakers, inspiring preachers, "How to Live Life To the Fullest" writers, and assorted and unassorted gurus have all proclaimed it as one of life's fundamental truths.

The view from here - "Live each day as though it were the last day of your life." What a wonderful and inspiring thought. What a beautiful way to begin each new day. What a great strategy for enriching the lives of all around us.

What complete and totally unadulterated BS.

Bet you've heard it 1,000 times. Motivational speakers, inspiring preachers, "How to Live Life To the Fullest" writers, and assorted and unassorted gurus have all proclaimed it as one of life's fundamental truths.

I don't know where it came from first. Norman Vincent Peale? Oprah? Snook? It may have come down from the mountain with Moses.

As you might already suspect, I have several problems with this bit of drivel so glibly handed down to us by our superiors. Not the least of these problems is that it's a completely harebrained idea and totally impractical if not impossible. Those who propose it ought to have better sense.

First of all, it's silly to try pretending this is your last day if it isn't.

Let's see, now, this is my last day so what will I do with it? First thing comes to your mind is that you have to say goodbye to all your family and friends.

That would kill a few hours. None of them would be willing to give you a peck on the cheek, a brief hug and a flick-of-the-finger farewell wave. Takes a lot longer than that to say good-bye for a few weeks or a year, let alone eternity.

No, sir, you can bet your sweet life, what's left of it at the time, that these farewells will be long and drawn out. Much weeping and gnashing of teeth and all that.

Most of us have been there at least once or twice. It's no fun. But if this is what you want to do on the last day of your life, better prepare for a long day.

Besides, half your family is in Alberta, half in B.C. and the other half scattered from Baffin Island to Northern Chile. Despite heroic efforts, you can't possibly get them all home in one day. You'll spend the whole of your last day on the phone with travel agents. The result will be you owe them a fortune and half your family will be totally peed off with you.

Need I remind you it isn't really your last day? You're just living it as though it were. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow etc., etc.

So, although this is what you might do if it really were your last day among mortals, you might want to think again if it's only your pretend last day. According to the pronouncement, you see, you have to spend every day doing this if you're going to live each day as though it's your last.

That's transparently absolute bull dung. Who in his right mind wants to do that, either for himself or his long-suffering family and friends? Well, perhaps not so long suffering. After two or three days of that, no one will pay any attention to you, anyway. So much for that being the way to spend the supposed last day of your life.

So, what would you do? Might have something to do with your belief structure. If you believe in heaven, and further that you have to be good to get there, you might decide that in your best interests you should run around doing all the good you can.

Doing good can take several different forms. You might decide to give money to a poor family, food to a hungry family and your house to the homeless. Or, you might decide that charity begins at home and give everything you have to your relatives. Not sure if that counts as charity or not.

In the meantime, you might want to remember this isn't really the last day of your life. You're only supposed to be living it as though it were. You need to be careful here, because the day after you won't have anything left to do anything good with. Doesn't work on this level, either, does it.

Let's think outside the box. Suppose you're an inherently greedy little character and you decide that for that last day you're going to have as much fun as you possibly can. You don't believe in the glorious hereafter and are not concerned about anybody else and what they might think after you're gone.

You might convince the cute little secretary across the office to take tomorrow off with you and then book a flight to Hawaii. Put up in the finest hotel suite - charging at all, of course - and prepare for a few hours of hedonistic and carnal pleasure. Don't forget you have to keep doing this over and over and over because what's required is that you live every day as though it's your last, right? Sort of hauls a wet blanket over it, doesn't it?

OK, so let's get sensible about all this. How would I spend tomorrow if I knew it would be my last day, AND I'd have to keep doing it every day from then on?

Know something? I can't think of one solitary thing I'd want to keep doing over and over and over for the rest of my life as though it were the last day of my life. A couple of exceptions to that, of course. One has to eat and drink everyday. That's about it. If you think sex, forget it. Every day for the rest of your life? You must be Johnny Holmes or the Happy Hooker. The rest of us are satisfied with once or twice every second day.

It bothers me that these beautiful and inspiring little sayings are tossed out willy nilly everyday by people everywhere.

You do need to stop and think about them.

Ed Smith lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is edsmith@persona.ca

Geographic location: Alberta, B.C., Baffin Island Northern Chile Hawaii Springdale

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