Live Like You Mean It: The Life-is-Short Mini-Manifesto

live-like-you-mean-itLife is short.

We all know that intellectually. But knowing doesn’t always translate into living.

That was true for me until twenty years ago, when I lost my best friend. When Paul died, I shifted from conceptually knowing that life is short to smack-me-upside-the-head, holy-cow, life really is short.

That recognition changed my life.

Since then, I’ve lived my life with the conviction that life is too short to stay stuck, to be unhappy, or to invest time in what won’t matter in the long run at the expense of what does matter.

Most of the time my choices align with that conviction. But I’m far from perfect.

I get caught up in busyness. I can put off and procrastinate on things that are important to me. I bang into resistance, sometimes understandably, other times leaving me scratching my head wondering, “What’s up with that?”

I know I can do better.

Not in a striving for perfection, denying myself permission to be human kind of way. Just a straightforward, gentle acknowledgment that I can make different – better – choices.

That acknowledgment is what I need to get a practice in place, something to help me be a little more mindful of my choices. But recently along came another life-really-is-short, don’t-be-putting-things-off reminder.

In just four weeks, one of my business acquaintances went from seemingly fine health to a diagnosis of stage IV cancer to dying.

Just a few days before Margaret started feeling unwell, I ran into her while getting coffee. We had a brief exchange of, “Hi, how’s it going? Great, how about you?” A few more minutes of chit-chat, a “see you later,” and off we went on our separate ways.

Never did I imagine it would be the last time I’d see her.

I was sad, shocked, and rattled for weeks. I’m still sad and shocked. But I’ve channeled my “rattledness”into a life-is-short mini-manifesto-disguised-as-a-list.

Life is short so …

  • Don’t wait.
    Create what you want to create. Do what you want to do. Go after your dreams.

    Get going. Make a plan. Set a due date. (Some day is not a due date!) Ask for help if you don’t know where to start. Begin taking steps NOW. Don’t wait until you have oodles of time or a perfectly organized life.

  • Stay connected … to your heart, to your center, to spirit, to your tribe, and to the important people in your life.
  • Trust more, worry less.
    Worrying about what might happen or what’s already happened won’t change your outcomes.

    But trusting that you’ll be fine no matter what will make a difference.

  • Wherever you are, be there.
    Keep your mind and your body together and here. Be present with what’s now and who’s with you.

    Often easier said than done, and so worth the effort.

  • Laugh lots.
    No more to add. Just laugh. A lot.
  • Express love.
    Say it and show it. There’s ALWAYS time to tell the people you love that you love them.
  • Be your amazing self.
    Don’t make yourself small, shrink your desires, or worry that you’re too much or not enough.

    Show up in all your glorious amazingness. Yes, you!!

  • Breathe and keep moving forward when fear shows up.
    You can choose not to let fear stand between you and the life you want to live. Lots of deep breaths help. 🙂

I still won’t be perfect, but perfect isn’t my goal.

I know that seeing the words of this manifesto every day will impact my choices and help me live my days the way I want to live my life.

I hope they do the same for you.

And here’s to a life well-lived filled with success AND happiness.

“The days are long but the years are short.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

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