Wednesday, April 22, 2015

If You Had It To Do Over

Image by Fred Fokkelman

One woman announced, “I intend to live forever! So far so good….” But the length of our lives is not the real issue; it’s the quality and meaning that matter. Not the years in a life, but the life in the years.

When asked what he wanted to be remembered for when his life was over, Leo Buscaglia replied, “I want to be remembered as somebody who lived life fully and with passion. I’ve been asked to write my epitaph and I have always thought that the perfect one for my tombstone would be, ‘Here lies Leo who died living.’”

I want to die living. And I want to be remembered as one who lived with purpose, joy and feeling. I want to spend my time learning what goes into a whole and happy life, then building that life the best I can.

Sociologist Tony Campolo told about a study in which fifty people over the age of 90 were asked to reflect upon their lives. “If you had it to do over again,” they were asked, “what would you do differently?” Though there were many answers, three responses dominated. Here they are:

  1. “I would reflect more.” Do you ever feel that too much time is spent in “doing” and not enough spent thinking about what you are doing and why you are doing it? Reflection on your time and your priorities, your habits and behaviors, your attitudes and beliefs, in short, reflection on your life, will reveal to you what is truly important.
  2. “I would risk more.” Have you missed important opportunities because you were afraid to take a chance? Taking more calculated risks may be the only way to make an important dream come alive.
  3. “I would do more things that would live on after I died.” Are you immersed in something bigger and more enduring than your own existence? What will be your legacy?

Reflect more. Risk more. Leave a legacy. These are what our elders say they would do if ever given a second chance.

And, of course, the beauty is this: we don’t need a second chance at life to get it right. We can build a life around these values beginning today. And when it comes time for us to leave this existence, we can go with no regrets. 

-- Steve Goodier

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