Memento Mori

If a doctor told you that you only had 1 year left to live, would you still be doing what you are doing right now?

Well, right at this moment I am writing this with dogs at my feet and a cup of tea to hand, so I probably would, it’s kind of heavenly. There are lots of things I would stop doing though. I would stop playing games on my phone. I would stop watching crap baking shows on Netflix. (I don’t mean GBO, I’d totally keep that). I would stop complaining about my job. I would stop worrying about money. I would stop getting wound up by things my family say and/or do, especially when they don’t actually affect me.


If I only had 1 year left, I think I’d get a lot done. I certainly wouldn’t be mooching around the house whinging about being bored.

I would go on long car trips and sing badly and laugh with my other half the whole way. I would spend as much time with my family as I could, and let them know how much I’ve learnt from each of them and how much I love them. I would make a list of all the places I want to see in the world and go and see them. I would sing in the shower and dance in my slippers. I would figure out how I could make life better for those around me with the time I have left. I would find something to enjoy in each day.

In reality none of us know how much time we’ve got left. It could be 70 years, 1 year or you could shuffle off tomorrow. We need to stop acting as if we have all the time in the world. We need to stop putting our life on hold until we retire, pay off the mortgage, the stars align or Monday rolls around again and make the most of what we have here and now to enjoy ourselves and be the best we can be.


Today, make a list of all the massive and tiny things you would do with 1 year left, and start doing them. Do whatever things you can within whatever limitations you’ve got. You can see from my list above that happiness doesn’t have to cost lots of money or take loads of time. Even some of the things I’d love to see are within an hour drive from my home.

There is a fantastic Latin phrase that the Stoic philosophers reminded themselves of regularly. Memento Mori – remember you will die. Use that as your inspiration to go out and live.

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