Living for Today

Rebecca - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on December 3, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe the saying “Live each day as if it were your last” is a bunch of bologna. If I knew today were my last day, I certainly would not have spent it sitting in a cubicle, eating instant oatmeal and balancing my checkbook.

I realize the saying is meant to conjure sentiments of living life to its fullest and not taking time for granted, and I agree with that, but if I knew today were my last day, I’d be running around like a madwoman going down my grand finale to-do list, obsessing so much over what tomorrow brings that I’d end up not enjoying today one bit. Heck, sometimes that happens to me already.

Although I don’t live each day as if it were my last, I do live each day under the assumption it will be someone I love’s last day. My mother fell into a spinal meningitis-induced coma when I was 19. We were told she would most likely die, but she woke up on my birthday a month later. One of my sisters was misdiagnosed with fatal kidney disease when she was 15. She was told not to plan for college because she wouldn’t live to see it. She’s now 35 years old.

These two death-dress rehearsals have left me paranoid that this day might be the last for someone in my circle — that morbid expectancy is a dark enough daily cloud to walk under — add to it the drama of assuming today is also my last day? Well, let’s just say each of my days would consist of nothing more than weeping and telling each person I know I love them so many times that they just might start to look forward to tomorrow.

If today does happen to be my last, I did, in fact, spend it sitting in a cubicle, eating instant oatmeal and balancing my checkbook. I listened to music that brought back memories of an old friend. I saw a squirrel that’s getting so chubby for winter that I had to make sure it wasn’t a kitten stuck in a tree. I kissed my husband goodbye in the morning and hello in the evening and told him, “Your facial hair looks silly, but I sure do love you.”

If my story ends there, I can say today was a good day, filled with love and happiness rooted in the ordinary. A lot was left undone, many dreams weren’t yet reached, but today was a good day. And at the end of the day, I believe it’s more important to acknowledge the time spent rather than fear that time might be out at any second because, at the end of the day, it’s okay to admit forever would not be enough time.

Whatever tomorrow brings, whether it’s the end of this story or the beginning of another, I hope I can look back to today and say, “Well, that was nice.”