Tuesday, May 31, 2011

15 Minutes To Live ...

I am participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages people to look within and trust themselves. As the web site says, this is an opportunity to reflect on what's happening in my life now, and to create direction for my future. Each day for 30 days, a prompt will arrive from an inspiring thought-leader.

Today is Day 1. Today's prompt is from Gwen Bell.

15 Minutes to Live

"We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

This is that story, my story, what I'd want to say.

Almost none of it matters.

I have 15 minutes left of my life and for those who will read this, I'd like you to know that almost none of it matters. I see that now.

The money. The power. The fame.

The lack of money. The lack of power. The absence of fame.

He who dies with the most toys does not win. He dies like all the rest of us.

With one possible difference: He may or may not die alone.

So what I know is this:

Love, truly, is all that matters.

The people whose lives you touch along the way.

The lives of the people that you enhance in some way, by a kind word or deed. An understanding nod. A selfless hug.

It is nice to have a life of comfort, I suppose. But it is more important to share that comfort with others.

Sharing is a form of love. All the good things are a form of love. And at the end of your life, you'll find a lot of comfort in looking back and seeing the reflection of all that goodness.

And if you look back and see things you wish you would not have done, there's still time to say you're sorry. You'll want to spare one of your precious seconds to say you're sorry.

And so to those I slighted along the way, I'm sorry. I'd like to say I did the best I could, but I probably didn't. But that doesn't really matter now. "I'm sorry" will have to suffice. That's all I have to give you. Well, that and my recipe for brownies if I had the time to type it out. But I don't think that I do.

Do you know that 15 minutes is a long time when you take the time to focus on it? That's another lesson: Focus. Don't waste your days. Have a conversation with a friend. Skip "Jerseylicious," for the love of God. Read a book. Think some thoughts. Jot some notes. Drink some wine. Nosh a nosh. Take a walk. Feel the sun. Smell the lilacs. Write a letter. Mail the letter. Hold a baby. Shush a baby. Notice your breath. Sing a song. Fall in love.

Really fall in love.

Time is getting short now. I feel no need to recount what I did with my life. I don't wish to be remembered for the things I wrote and the like. I wish to be remembered for the friend I was, the daughter I was, the aunt I was. Am. And will continue to be. I believe that our souls are on a long, long journey. This was simply one of the stops. I met people I needed to meet, I learned lessons I needed to learn, and one day, I'll be back, in another body with another name, and I'll meet and learn all over again, gathering knowledge, becoming more complete. And one day, when I'm as authentic as I can be, it will be my job to help others along their ways.

Though I hope I've been helping all along.

You've all helped me. I know that. And for that, all there is to say is ...

I love you.


Anonymous Dave said...


I'm afraid that I know from personal experience my story would be far more selfish.

Whether it truly was or not, I recently had what felt like a near death experience. I had been having heart problems - atrial fibrillation. I was driving alone on a highway maybe ten minutes from home when my blood pressure plummeted - I felt dizzy, my hands and lower arms were tingling, I was convinced I was having a heart attack. I wasn't sure I had even fifteen minutes.

I pulled over to the side of the road and called my wife. The first selfish act because she was, of course, as scared as I was to get a call saying, "I think I'm dying."

I got back behind the wheel and drove towards home, with my wife telling me I could make it over and over again in my ear. Screw the law about not talking on your phone while driving!

The thoughts filling those minutes were:

I want to see my wife.
I want to kiss my wife.
I want to hold my wife.
I want to make love to my wife.
I want to taste my wife's cooking.
I want to hear my wife laugh.
I want to watch my wife sleeping.
I want to go somewhere exotic with my wife.
I want to sit and watch stupid TV shows with my wife.
I want to hear my wife complain about the inconsiderate things I sometimes do.

Luckily I got to do all those things. And my health has I improved because of them.

So the one thing I would echo from your piece...

Really fall in love.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Well, that's some story, Dave.

I'm so glad that you're health has improved.

And I'm glad for the reason. "Really fall in love" is a big box to check off on life's list. Not everyone dies having done it.

6:11 AM  
Blogger JMH said...

Wow, that's an incredible little piece. It puts things right in perspective. I feel wiser, or maybe just lightheaded. It's hot today.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thanks JMH.

Hope the lightheadedness has subsided along with the crazy-hot weather. I recommend brain freeze instead. :o )

1:37 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I'm obviously coming to this post late and it's hypothetical, but it tickles me that I do, in fact, have your brownie recipe.

Great piece!

~ Kristen

3:03 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

That made me laugh, Kristen!

Yes, very special people have the recipe. :o )

3:12 PM  
Blogger your friend laura said...

holy shit.

i love this.

you know what's up, and that's a beautiful thing.

did i mention that i love this?


4:01 PM  

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