I was recently asked whether, as a childless woman I’m afraid of dying alone.
The rationale for asking was – well you don’t have children (or siblings for that matter), women tend to live longer than men, so surely that means you’ll die alone, doesn’t it?
Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.
Can you predict the future?
I certainly can’t.
I can’t predict what will happen next week, never mind what will happen in (let’s be optimistic) thirty plus years. And I’m certainly not going to spoil today by worrying about something that may or not may not happen many years in the future.
So in answer to the question.
I’m not worried about dying alone and neither should you be.
What I am concerned about, and you should be too, is living now; making the absolute most of my life today, now, this moment.
Because in the end, that’s all there is; this moment.
It’s not surprising that we’re always looking at what’s missing in our lives as Western culture is focused on making us feel like we constantly ‘need’ to have and to be more. Brené Brown describes this as a culture of scarcity, one in which we always feel ‘never…. enough.’ We’re bombarded by advertisements and social media showing others living a ‘perfect’ life and it can be hard to resist.
How many times a day do you think ‘I’m not…. (happy, good, perfect, thin, successful……) enough’?
How many times a day, do you think ‘I’ll be happy when….’?
And, be honest now,
How much do you focus on what’s missing from your life,
How often do you think about what a ‘wonderful’ life you’d have if only you had children?
I thought so.
And when you focus on ‘never enough’ or what’s missing, is it making you happy?
I thought not.
There is another way.
What if you embraced your life as it is, in this moment, warts and all?
What if you focused on what you HAVE in your life instead of what you don’t have?
How would that change your life?
But you know that constantly focusing on that one thing you can’t have isn’t going to make you happy, don’t you?
So for a moment think about what you DO have in your life. Maybe pause and make a list of ten good things about your life. If ten is too many start with five, or three.
At the top of my list are freedom and flexibility, and just about everything else flows from these. It’s because of this freedom and flexibility that I live a life I love, which brings me joy and excites me every day.
Let me give you an example. As I write this, today was the funeral of a friend and business colleague. She was 60 and definitely didn’t die alone. When she first became ill, she told me that once she’d got over the shock of starting chemotherapy, one of her first thoughts was ‘what’s the gift in this?’ And she inspired me to write this blog.
So if she could find the gift in having chemotherapy, I’m sure you can find something positive in your life.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to make changes in your life. What I’m saying is that worrying does sap today of its joy and most of what we worry about never happens anyway. So I don’t know about you but I’d rather have joy today.
Three ways to live more in the moment.
Here are three ways to put this into place and live your life more in the moment.
- The first is obvious, use the list you just made above. Do more of the good things in your life, especially those that bring you joy.
- If you find yourself rushing, pause for a moment, look around and appreciate the beauty around you and in the moment.
- Consider what nurtures and re-energises you and do more of these. For me that’s things like reading, being outside, spending time on my own and spending time with close friends.
If I’m completely honest, the future is where I spend a lot of time. Not the distant future, but a few days or weeks hence, so being in the present is a challenge for me. I’m very much a work in progress and practicing mindfulness meditation is also helping.
None of us know what the future holds and I’m determined to make every day count.
I want to get to the end of my life and have plenty of wonderful memories to sustain me and to say confidently ‘yes I lived my life to the full.’
What about you?
Please leave your thoughts below (you don’t have to use your real name).
If you want to stop worrying about dying alone so that you can live today to the full how about booking a complimentary session via my online diary and we’ll spend 20 to 30 minutes discussing how you can do this. The hard sell is not my style and I know you’ll get something from our conversation.