October 1989. My mom was 35 years and 8 months old. She was at the start of her last good year of life. She, of course, had no idea that one year later she'd have a cancer diagnosis and be in and out of treatment until dying a month before her 39th birthday.
February 2012. I was 35 years and 8 months old. It occurred to me a couple days ago that I'm now one month into the year of life that was my mom's last good year. I, of course, have no idea if I'll be dead in a couple years or live another 40.
I'm not distraught or freaking out in any way, but I do think it's good to have periodic reminders that we simply have no idea when our lives will end. Here are some of the things I've wondered about myself, things I'd ask if I knew this was my last good year.
* Would I respond differently when the kids annoy me?
* Would I respond differently when I'm frustrated with my spouse?
* Would I change the amount of time I spend online?
* Would I change the amount of books I read?
* Would I change the amount of movies I watch?
* Would I change the types of things I read and watch?
* Are there legal or financial documents I need to have taken care of?
* Does my spouse know how to access my online accounts, forums, etc.?
* What aspect of my marriage would I be most proud of and content with?
* What aspect of parenting would I be most proud of and content with?
* Would I change the amount of time I spend hanging out with my family?
* Would I change the amount of time I spend reading my Bible?
* What places would I be sure to visit?
* Who would I most want to spend time with?
* Are there people I'd prefer not to see?
* Is there anything I'd like to learn how to do?
* Is there anything I'd like to experience for the first time?
* Would I change the busyness of our schedule?
* Are there things I'd want to be sure to say to specific people?
* Would I find it more or less important to give my opinion on various matters?
* Would I change the amount of time I spend cleaning and working on household projects?
* What would I have regrets about and is there anything that can be done about those things?
* ... and a gazillion other questions.
If the answers to any of these questions would necessitate a change in my behavior or some deliberate decisions to get some things done, then why don't I do those things now? Why do we tend to put off the things that are most important to us, that we enjoy, or that we need to take responsibility for?
Are there things you'd do differently if you were in your last good year? Can you make any of those changes now? If not, then accept it. If so, then do it.
In the words of Tim McGraw, "Live Like You Were Dying".