At this point in my life, I have had few encounters with death. Both of my dad’s parents had passed away before I was two. My mom’s dad had died when she was ten. So, I only had one living grandparent, and I’m happy to report (she’s still kicking it in full costume jewelry with her hair all did). When I was sixteen my uncle died, suddenly and unexpectedly of cancer.
I was of course really sad at the time, and in shock, but we didn’t live close, so the impact wasn’t harsh. It absolutely altered the course of my cousin’s lives, but personally, I wasn’t that involved. Since, that day 15 years ago a few more important people in my life have passed, but not many.
However, last week a death hit kind of close to home. My life long best friend since first grade, her mom died. It’s surreal because I haven’t probably seen her in five years or so, but in the formative years she was there. I spent hours and hours and hours of time at her house; there were field trips and volleyball games and Saturday mornings, and she’s in every memory. She was young and beautiful, so she was kind of the cool mom, but she was wise like a sage and reminded us frequently that we were silly and impractical.
she fought a long and exhausting battle with cancer
She has two boys who haven’t even graduated high school yet. Two boys that won’t get her wise and sage-like advice into their adults years. Advice they’ll most likely desperately need. So, last week when I woke up to the news, even though I knew it was a possibility. I wept like a baby. I was sad for them, and I was sad because she was good. The kind of person who everyone thinks of as loving and kind and generous, but mostly I was sad because it was a harsh reminder that life is short.
You see the times before when I had encountered death; I wasn’t a mom. I didn’t have my own two little people to be a sage too. I didn’t have my own two little people to protect. I didn’t have my own two little people that I want never to part with, but now I do. So, that day I sat crying in my bathroom asking myself, “do I make every day count?” Sure, I’m teaching them things and of course, I’m disciplining them consistently. These are useful and necessary, but what about love, and wonder and making your life matter, was I conveying those things to them?
You see it’s really easy to say all of “this” doesn’t matter cause there’s something on the other side, there’s heaven or more. But I’d beg to differ, because no matter what you believe, it’s our job to live our life to the fullest capacity right now. You know how I know, because we’re alive, and that points to purpose.
that day i wanted to do something grand
I wanted to let the world know I was living with a purpose or to write a Facebook message in honor of her life, but those are just words. The action is always what counts. So, instead I went downstairs and let my son have chocolate milk in his Rice Krispies instead of regular milk, and I hugged them both extra tight, and I just went right on living.
I would literally be broken hearted if I knew I that I wouldn’t be there to see them grow. If I missed them falling in love, or getting married or having babies because I have a lot of my own sage-like wisdom (that I know they won’t want), but prayerfully they’ll listen to, to give.
But, there’s a catch, I don’t get choose if I live or die. All I get to choose is to make each moment count right now. So, that’s my new mantra: make each moment count. It’s kind of always been a mantra of mine, but there’s a little more light to my fire now. So how do you do that? How do you make each moment count?
3 ways to make each moment count
#1 live less out of habit and more out of intent
The very first post I wrote for everythingidid was about this topic. So, often we live life out of habit and not even good habits, but rather poor habits. Stop doing that. Live your life out of intent. You don’t have to drink coffee because you always have, you don’t have to eat pasta because you grew up eating it, you don’t have to be a know-it-all.
You can be whatever you set out to be. If you want to be fit, start working out and change your diet. If you want to focus more on your kids, delete your top most used app from your phone. If you want to pursue your dreams, start with writing down what they are.
#2 recognize life happens in the little moments
The little moments that you make spectacular will be the ones you remember forever. When I was six years old, I was a major scaredy cat. My mom took me to the theme park Six Flags Over Texas, and she wanted me to ride the Texas Giant, a huge wooden roller coaster. I was so scared, but she paid me $5 to do it, and I so I did. Not only do I remember that moment clear as day, but that was the start of my love of roller coasters.
Personally, the best conversations I ever have with my sons are usually in the car because I try to make those drives mean something more than just a commute. Most days I don’t pick up my oldest son from school, but if I do, I usually stop for a treat, (no matter how tiny) to make the moment come alive. You don’t have to be a parent to do this; you just have to be a human. Cut your significant other’s sandwich into a heart, or send a postcard to whoever you’re thinking about in the mail. Make the little moments special.
#3 make rules and then break them
It’s critical for life to have structure. We need schedules and processes. If you’re a parent, and you want to be a good one, you need so much more discipline in your kid’s lives than you could ever imagine. You will accomplish nothing without strict guidelines propelling you forward.
However, if you want to make each moment count, then you have to be always ready to break those rules at a moment’s notice. In my house, we traditionally eat pretty healthily. I don’t like my kids to have food dyes or a lot of bread. I have a strict bedtime routine and I rarely waiver on it, but anyone that knows me, knows I love to break a good rule.
So, occasionally after I make my kids eat chicken, brussel sprouts and tomato salad, I will likely surprise them with some super impressive dessert. Or at a moment’s notice, I’ll suggest we scrap our bedtime routine and stay up to watch a movie. This idea is perfect for your spouse, friends, or even boss too.
Have rules and be consistent, so people can know they can rely on you. However, at a moment’s notice when you suggest you should go for fried chicken or a midnight ice cream run instead of eating healthy again, people will know you can break a rule as good as you can follow one.
Time is the only commodity we can’t get back. We can always make more money. We can always eat better tomorrow. We can always sleep in on some weekend, but time keeps going. So, live like your life matters, because it does!Published in