This I Believe

Mary Ellen - Urbana, Illinois
Entered on January 1, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: carpe diem, death

I believe you should live each day of your life as if it is your last. I came to this conclusion when I was 50 years old. My mother died when I was 9 years old, she was 50. She died suddenly of a stroke. One night she kissed me good night and I never saw her again. When I turned 50 my fear of dying suddenly like my mother created a high level of anxiety. Everyday I was gripped in fear which was manifested in my constant worry about my three sons, my needing to control everything and everyone around me, and a constant low grade depression. One day I realized I had a choice. I could live each day fearful that I would die that night of a stroke or I could assume I would have a stroke and spend the day finding joy in the world around me-after all it might be my last. It was a small moment but a monumental decision. My life is different now, I worry less, make responsible choices, travel more, take more risks and take time each day to express my love and gratitude to those around me. My life is fuller now that I have let go of the fear of dying young like my mother-her death in the end taught me an important lesson. Today may be the last day of my life-I must spend it wisely.