Imagine yourself on your deathbed. No, really! Take a moment and imagine that. Will you be happy that you lived your life in the best way possible? Will you have a sense of satisfaction that you pursued all your dreams and made them come true? Or would you be wringing your hands in despair thinking of all the time you wasted and the unfulfilled dreams that would die with you?
I came across the phrase ‘deathbed mentality’ in Robin Sharma’s book “The Monk who Sold his Ferrari.” It caught my fancy because a year ago I had a close brush with death. The kind that makes you question your choices in life. It totally shook and dismantled my life. Back then it was scary and unsettling to throw away everything familiar and follow my dreams. But now I have no regrets.
It helps that I maintain a journal and can look back at events from my life and how things unfolded over the years. One of the things I wanted to do post-accident, was to get my book published. I’m closer to that dream now because I wake up every day thankful for being alive but also painfully aware that it could be my last. This mentality stops me from wasting time on meaningless activities.
The second thing on my to-do list was to reach out to people that needed healing and to use my gift to make this world a better place. I’m happy to report that over the past year I have been able to serve so many people—some acquaintances, some old friends, some total strangers who then became friends.
And the last item on my list was to have relationships that were uplifting and nurturing. I’ve been with my parents for the past six months—the longest time I have spent with them since I got married. I’ve reconnected with lovely friends from my past who have lifted my spirits and nourished my soul. My dad visited me in the U.S. and I had him all to myself for a whole month.
My life is not perfect by other people’s standards. I’m stuck in India without my kids and have no idea when I can go back. I don’t have a full-time job anymore. But I wake up every day thanking God that I’m still alive and that I get to pursue my goals with unbridled passion. I’m grateful that I can reach out to so many people and heal them or equip them with tools that will bring balance and joy into their lives.
I don’t waste my time anymore. I create, I serve to the best of my ability, and I honor and nurture my body. And all the while, I imagine myself on that fateful evening, sitting in the driver’s seat of a Prius that was spinning around after being t-boned. What if I had died that day? I had so many untold stories inside me. So many visions that would never have turned into reality. No! I must press on. I have today and I insist on making the most of it.
Don’t wait for an accident to jerk you out of your stupor and reclaim your life. Every living, breathing moment is precious. Take stock of your life. Are you living your dreams or are you simply existing? I’m not asking you to quit your job and become a hippie. I’m asking you to take time every day to do the things that are important to you and that bring you joy and make the world a better place. Love a little harder, play a little nicer, and don’t ever take the life you have for granted.