“Live each day like it’s your last.” Are there human beings that are capable of this? Let’s think about it for a minute. If today was your last day, what would you do? Gather all your loved ones in one room, travel the world in 24 hours, tell that special someone you love them, face your worst fear?
Of course if we look beyond the literal bit, it is basically a reminder that we should live the life we desire because we only get one chance. Unfortunately, being a mortal comes with its shortcomings.
For starters, how quickly we forget!
About a month ago, I made a decision to seek out friends I had not met in a long time. For some of them, it was a case of bad timing, others had been distant and for some, I could not even explain what caused the ‘disappearing acts.’
Each time I noticed I had a free day or clear week, I tried to reach out to at least one. Some sessions had us pick up where we left off and for others, we were reminded why there had been any distance in the first place- we had simply grown into different people. I also accepted that it’s healthy to admit that time changes and people move on. When the time comes, by all means, let go.
Yesterday I met Penny. We had planned this rendezvous for months and something always came up on either end. Last week, I gave her a date and time and mentioned I would be there whether or not showed up. She made it, albeit late and paid for the meal to make up for it. Yaay! *If I had a meal for each time someone kept me waiting, I’d have saved enough for my future daughter’s Ivy league education by now*
As we spoke about life and relationships, we both agreed that platforms like ‘whatsapp’ confuse you into thinking that you have met your friends and spoken to them yet in fact, all you do is chat.
I have chatted with several people almost daily, and we say we are ‘fine,’ only to meet and realise there is so much going on that neither of us actually disclosed. It is much easier to click the ‘dancing lady in red’ emoticon than give a written account of the depression you are going through, don’t you think?
We both admitted that sometimes ‘busy’ did not really mean busy but rather “ I shall not make the time.”
Penny’s solution was that she would cut off everyone she had not seen in 6 months who was ‘comfortable’ chatting online but never available for a face to face.
When I got home, I received a phone call, a free spirit I knew had passed on. I was broken. Earlier I had heard of a teenage girl who had lost her life in an accident the same day. I was left thinking about the fleeting nature of life.
As it was approaching 10pm, I received a call from *Lucy.* I am generally ‘afraid’ of night calls so I picked up hesitantly. She asked me for the deceased’s phone number. I went silent for a while. What was happening? Did she know? Was she in denial? I asked Lucy if she had heard the News. She said she had but she did not believe it. She had left her phone at home and needed me to send the number so she could call and speak to her friend. The conversation just became more depressing from hereon.
I did as she asked and she later told me the phone was off. Lucy was mad at herself. They had made plans to meet and it hadn’t happened. In her words “ I meant to check in but you know how you keep postponing because you are tired all the time and think that whatsapp suffices…”
I could feel the agony in her every message and we ended up talking till after midnight. I understood what she meant because she is many of us and if we do not do something about it, this will be the story of our children’s lives too.
This young lady left behind a beautiful son. One of the most recent memories I have of her is that each time I asked about him, the next messages would be several pictures of him. She loved him to bits.
For her family and friends and those that have lost their loved ones, I can only offer prayers and heartfelt condolences and hope that, one day “It will be well…”
We certainly can’t all be in several places at the same time but we can do our best to be there for our loved ones before we have to settle for the paltry, mostly insufficient “RIP.”
This quote stung a bit when I read it last week but that can only be because admittedly, it had some truth to it.
“Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude.”
Find time. Make time. Make love. Apologise. Create memories. Travel. Show gratitude. Celebrate life. NOW.
Regrets are inevitable but who says we can’t make love inevitable too?