Death is taboo.
We try to avoid talking or thinking about it as if it’s something that won’t ever come. But the reality is that we’re all going to die.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
I don’t share this with you to be morbid — I’m sharing this with you as a reminder that every day that you are able to wake up and take a deep breath, watch the sun rise and set, order an number five from your favorite restaurant, or drive to work is a gift.
Just imagine if this morning, you got the gut-wrenching phone call from your doctor. Through the phone, he says, “I’m sorry, but you only have six months to live”.
Everything and everyone you love comes flashing before your eyes. Immediately, you would think of all the things that you’d like to do before the clock strikes midnight. That sunrise that you groaned and griped about shining through the blinds as you tried to sleep in — it would be something that you dare not miss because you only have a handful of them left to cherish.
I want to remind you that each day is an opportunity to get out there and LIVE. Don’t just live aimlessly — do it fearlessly.
So why am I suddenly reminding you that your life is on a ticker? Because a few days ago I was in a funk. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed trying to distract myself from the feeling that I’m living an average life — just shy of the extraordinary one that I dream about on my lunch break. Basically, I was throwing my self a big ol’ pitty party.
And then I stumbled across this article. At first, I just saw this picture of this pretty young woman. Her smile made me wonder how could this woman have a worry in the world?
But then I read beyond the headline.
I quickly realized that I wasn’t reading another quirky article from Buzzfeed or Elite Daily. I was reading the last journal entry of this astonishing woman who passed away a few days earlier at the ripe age of 27 years old.
This is Holly Butcher.
Holly had dreams of living a life full of love, laughter, family, and experiences. She just knew that eventually, she’d have it all because she had “so much time”…but then life happened.
“That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.”
Holly’s story snapped me out of my daze. I felt guilty for all of the times I said “I can just do it tomorrow” and “I’ll call back later”. Her message is one that we can all apply to ourselves, regardless of where we are in our lives. Here are a few takeaways to keep in your back pocket — just in case you find yourself in the dumps or simply taking the little things for granted.
Life is not a given right, so stop living like the world owes it to you.
I don’t know where we get off on this idea that mortality is something handed to us from the gods. We aren’t entitled to a long and prosperous life. So that means that it is our responsibility to make our lives worth sharing with our grandchildren from a creaky rocking chair.
Slow down and smell the roses
Stop what you’re doing right now. Take a second to look around you. What do you see? Look beyond the obvious and appreciate the things that make your life worthwhile.
Hug the ones that you care about and tell them you love them
I don’t care if you’re the touchy-feely type or the go-away-don’t-touch-me type — don’t let another moment pass you by without telling your friends and family that you love them. When you have a chance to see them, hug them. Before you hang up, say I love you. And don’t ever let them forget it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Sure, the kids may be crying and whaling, your car may be due for a tune-up, your kitchen sink may be leaking, or you can’t stand your boss’ guts. But guess what? You woke up today with enough energy and health to complain about it.
Take a moment to be thankful for what you do have and appreciate the little things like the fact you have sweet babies who are crying for you, or a boss to hate because you have a job to keep food on the table. These are the small things that you’ll look back at near the end of the road.
Let shit go
So there’s this concept called the 5 x 5 rule. It goes a little something like this: If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes being upset about it. So you had an argument with your significant other or someone cut you off in traffic. Is that really going to matter in five years? Absolutely not. More often than not, you won’t even remember that in one year. So let it go and be happy!
Whine less, give more
I’ll make this one quick: stop bitching.
Material things mean nothing because you can’t bring them to the grave with you
Frivolous things like a fancy new house, a shiny new car, or the latest overpriced bag from Michael Kors feel amazing in the moment, but you can’t fit them all in your casket 6 feet under. No matter how big your house is, or how fat your bank account may be, our graves will all be the same size. Don’t live your life for things.
Spend money on experiences
Remember when I told you that you can’t bring all of your money and stuff with you (literally like three seconds ago)? There’s a better way to enjoy it — spend it on the moments and memories that don’t have a price tag. If you’ve been dying to go on a certain vacation or have been meaning to see an old friend, be like Nike and just do it.
Work to live, don’t live to work
Let’s just say that you work 40 hours a week, from the age of 20-65 and spend two weeks of the year on vacation. In that time, you will have worked a total of 90,360 precious hours of your life working for the man. Yikes…
You’re already spending so much time working so don’t do yourself the disservice of making your entire life about your work. Enjoy it how and when you can and save the rest of your time for, well, living.
If something is making you miserable, you have the power to change it
For crying out loud, if something makes you miserable, kick it to the curb. When in doubt, throw it out. Crappy job? Quit. Negative friend? Tell them to kick rocks. Nasty relationship? Bye Felicia! Take control of your happiness and change what you can. If you can’t change something right away, then change your attitude.
This post is meant not only to honor Holly’s life but to inspire you to live yours before it’s too late.
“I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability….. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.”
— Holly Butcher
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