Life Your Lives

Nobody gets to live life backward.  Look ahead, that is where your future lies.

 ~ Ann Landers

My sister-in-law threw a surprise birthday party for my brother on a cruise. We had fun singing, dancing, watching everybody expressing what they would think and feel about him.  When it was my turn to talk,  I expressed my thoughts and feelings and concluded my points with the remarks of the  audiobook I listened on my way to the US.  The book is entitled, Life in Half a Second written and read by Mathew Michalewicz.  I was immersed in the analysis the author gave about the urgency of life, the need to live our wished lives and how we can transform our lives.

One of the topics Mathew mentioned was that when we celebrate birthdays, we count the days lived.  He said, that is not important, rather we need to focus on the lives unlived.  He explained his concept by symbolizing the life lived as a gas used in a car.  We see the gage and count, not what was used, but what is available to be used.  That is how life should be count, Mathew argues.  He pushed it further and calculated the average life in days based on life expectancy of the world, i.e. 70.  Based on that, I teasingly calculated my brother’s, deducting 40 (the life he lived) from 64 (average life expectancy of Ethiopia) and came up with 26 more years or about 9,490 days to live.  As suggested, instead of celebrating the 40th birthday, we should count down to sensitize ourselves for we can only use what is to be lived.  Talking about my brother’s life, I stated the fact that he was making the most out of his life and I challenged the rest of us to do the same accordingly.

Anticipating the 2016 New Year celebration, I would like to do the same thing, redirecting our attention to the life that we are to live, not counting the years used but counting down the years to be used, if God wills.

Mathew said he got into a habit of asking one question anyone who he came across his way, “How would you like to live if you have only one year left on earth?”  Then he summarized their responses into three: I would leave my job, spend more time with family and tour the world visiting the places I want to see.  Then he challenged his listeners, “Why would death be the only awakening factor for us to live the life we aspire to?  Why wouldn’t we make efforts now in the time given to us to make the most of our existence?  

Today is New Year eve and I am reminded of all the resolutions we make but not fulfilling them.  As commonly said and Matthew pointed out,  graveyards are the richest places in the world: businesses never started, books never written, dreams never followed, desires never fulfilled but buried in the tomb with the people who had them.  Unless we create the life we desire, we follow the path of the many that passed away without living their dreams.

In order to get more out of life, we need to consciously define what success means to us at the personal level, clearly define our goals, have a desire that surpasses all excuses, create enabling environment that beefs up our dream, gather information about what we want, map a path to our goal, invest in ourselves, take actions and move forward every day. The process could be rough but the fulfillment is unfathomable.

Would you like to be awakened to live your aspired life before forced to face the imminent death?

In other words, would you life your remaining lives?

By Seble Hailu

December 31, 2015