What if this is your last day on earth?


The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,

to match your nature with Nature.

~Joseph Campbell~

People don’t like to think about death, especially their own. Sometimes life brings it to their attention. Friends and relatives die or develop serious illness. Sometimes illness grabs people so ruthlessly that they don’t know whether they will survive it. Passing a cemetery reminds them that there is a plot waiting for them there too.

Most people don’t know when they will die. With an advanced disease such as cancer, you might know that the end is near but the day of your death is not written on a calendar. It remains a mystery until it happens. The only sure way to know the exact time of you death is suicide, but choosing that course is rare unless life becomes unbearable.

If you knew you would die within the next twenty-four hours, what would that mean to you? I have met people on their deathbeds who reach the point of being at peace with death and are ready for it. I have met others who may never be ready for their final act and would like to go on endlessly. But you don’t have to wait until death knocks at your door.

Maybe you feel guilty about hurting someone and have never apologized even though your heart wanted you to. Maybe you have been estranged from someone with whom you once had an intimate relationship. Maybe there is some place you would like to visit before you die, perhaps the homeland of your ancestors, and your life would feel incomplete unless you did. You know you will die with regrets if you don’t act.

It’s not too late. Other unfinished business besides what I have mentioned might burden your life. Instead of just wishing things were different, it’s time to do something about it.

If you have offended or hurt someone, it’s not too late to apologize. It would be best to do so in person. If this is not possible, a phone call or letter might substitute for a personal appearance. Be careful of email, texts or other electronic communication as a substitute. Your emotions will most not likely come through clearly.

If you are estranged from someone you once loved dearly, reach out and try to reconnect. Mostly likely you both have hard feelings about whatever happened. Ask for forgiveness for your part in the standoff, and say you would like another chance.

Your ancestral homeland is most likely still there. Perhaps you can arrange a trip even if this means making sacrifices in other areas. Maybe you could ask your relatives with the same roots to accompany you.

These are just some examples. Perhaps you have other unfinished business to which you could attend if you made the effort. Unfinished business adds stress to your life. Having it resolved might well make your life more peaceful. Releasing this stress might also allow you to live longer.

Life Lab Lessons       

  • What unfinished business in your life plagues you?
  • How long do you want to live with it?
  • Are you willing to resolve it?
  • Make a plan to face it.
  • Get on with it.

(Published by Joseph Langen as Sliding Otter News and available by free subscription.)

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