Posted by: First Mate | October 9, 2014

What Would You Do With 6 Months or 6 Days to Live? 10 Things I Would Do….

With brutal honesty, I am going to list 10 things I would do if I could see into the future and discover impending doom.  So I’ve been listening to, watching and reading the news lately.  And this morning, I was thinking about a close friend who has a 9 cm mass in his lung and a CT scan showed masses around the lymph nodes in his mediastinum.  No path results yet but a bone scan was clean.  Monday morning in the pool another swimmer and I were talking about the horrid conditions of an open water race we participated in last Saturday.  We discussed how open water swimmers die when they are not spotted or can’t be brought to the beach in time.  And then he said something with total clarity, “we’re all going to die sometime.”

So here are 10 things I would do if I had 6 hours, 6 days, 6 months or 6 years to live:

  1. I would make cassoulet for my husband.  Cassoulet is one of my husband’s favorite things and aside from other things, smiling and laughing at his jokes – this one is a no brainer.  And frankly, the other things are
    off the table for the next 6 hours because I have two weeks worth of laundry to put away, a house to clean, a looming deadline, etc, etc.  But I love him and seeing him happy fills me with joy – so this is in his future – unless he gets Ebola.  (I know, that is not funny.)
  2. Help my daughter with her homework.  I don’t always enjoy this.  It’s like nails on the chalkboard, however, she loves the interaction and involvement and it is good for both of us.  While it teaches me patience, it demonstrates to her that I love her.  I don’t mind working with her on social studies, music or math, but she loathes Language Arts and fights it/me.  I LOVE reading, vocabulary and grammar and I just don’t have the energy to fight the battles of explaining why certain word uses don’t work.  So I will smile, go to my happy place and know that while we listen to Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian she is learning as much as when she is writing a paper on the Chinook Indians with primary and secondary sources.
  3. I would be happy.  I am happy, for all the first, second and third world feces I deal with on a day-to-day basis, I am a happy person.  Honestly, “Yo no se mañana,” we have no idea what tomorrow brings.  Things will either work out or they won’t.  All that other stuff is just thought.  What will happen to my child or my husband?  Will we ever really know?  And what will knowing do except steal time from RIGHT NOW.
  4. I would stop answering calls from people who really just want to talk about themselves or find out how awful my life is or tell me about how awful someone else’s life is today.  Or worse, how awful their life is…. Life is really too short to enjoy a narcissist – no matter how long you are going to live.  Yes, I have empathy and know we live in the same reality and all struggle with the same issues, but sometimes I forget it’s all thought and the back-handed compliments and subtle criticisms get to me and just WASTE TIME.
  5. I would smile.  Have you ever smiled at the scariest &^%&er on the street and had them stop and say “You just made my day with your smile”?  I do this all the time – it falls into my “fake it until you make it” policy.  I am often so overcome with fear and doubt and then see either ‘angry guy’ or ‘perfect woman’ walking toward me, I smile at them with the most irritating fake smile you have ever seen. Some how this is life’s great diffuser? While they may not have laundry, bills piling up, a terrible boss, sick family, etc – everybody has some thought in their head that makes them sad, anxious, unhappy – it’s humanity. Also, it makes you pretty, ugly people don’t smile and aren’t kind.
  6. I would sit by water: a lake, pool, the ocean, a river or a stream.  I love water, it’s calming for me.  But so is just being quiet and reflecting. According to a new book, (which I haven’t read) by Wallace Nichols, water contributes to our happiness and success.
  7. I would thank people.  I do this normally, thank you for your help, thank you for your support and hard work, thank you for being my friend, thank you for being such an amazing husband, thank you for taking care of me.  It is such a simple thing.  While I normally am good with thank you notes, these past few years have been a mess, so I will also apologize if you haven’t received the time-tested thank you from me.  I will show appreciation for your generosity if I see you and remember.
  8. I will wash my hands.  What, I have 6 days to live, why waste 20 seconds at least 40 times a day washing my hands the correct way?  Because if I haven’t made it clear, I love my family and friends.  And honestly, while I have no fear of Ebola, I do fear the Flu, yes, I was vaccinated at Walgreens two weeks ago. I also fear other viruses, like the party of Norovirus or EnterovirusD68.  If I perish, I don’t want pass any of these nasty things on to my community or some angry person I have just smiled at on the street.
  9. I would remind all my family members that I love them, even the ones who no longer speak to me, maybe in a letter or that long overdue thank you note.  I am sure I forgot a birthday or a thank you card, sent a lame gift instead of what they asked for…  I do that stuff all the time. But despite the menial garbage, I still love them, even when they annoy the crap out of me.  And NOTE, I am not sure I would tell them I was dying.  I think often I discuss what ever drama du jour as a way to share my fear, insecurity, guilt.  But if I had 6 hours, 6 days, 6 months, why tell anyone other than my immediate loved ones.  It is a burden. And death is just that, death, it happens just like life.  While I’m not a nihilist, I do feel it is easier to laugh and be joyful when you aren’t discussing your impending death; unless you are a member of my family – we always find humor in the most inappropriate things – farts for example.
  10. I would laugh until I cried and my ab muscles were toned like a supermodel.  Okay let’s me honest, it would take more than 6 months of laughing to tone my abs to that of a supermodel; and who wants to be a supermodel?  As I always tell my daughter, it’s better to be smart than pretty –  because stupid is forever – even when life is short.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: