Most of us know the phrase, Carpe Diem (seize the day), but how many of us know the second part? Until recently, I didn’t.
…………. “trusting as little as possible in the next one,”
What does the second part of the phrase mean for us? Sounds ominous! Since we are now firmly in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, this phrase has never meant more to us. In times such as these, we are forced to think of our own mortality and those dear to us.
But maybe, we need to think about every day as possibly being our last. Time is precious and we can only deal with today’s issues and appreciate every single drop of it. My older brother sent me this message recently and it tied in beautifully with my blog, even though he has absolutely no idea what the topic is. It is written by an unknown author. Apparently, it was found in the wallet of the American football coach, Paul (Bear) Bryant from Alabama after his death in 1982: –
“Imagine that you have won the following PRIZE in a contest:
Each morning your bank deposits $86,400 in your private account for your personal use. However, this prize has specific Rules:
1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend it.
4. Each morning, the bank deposits into your account another $86,400 for that day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time, it can say, “Game Over!”
6. It can close the account, and you will not receive a new one.
What would you personally do? Maybe you would buy anything and everything you wanted; not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for; maybe, even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself. No doubt, you would try to spend every penny and use it all, because you know it will be replenished the next morning, right?
ACTUALLY, THIS GAME IS REAL! Each of us is already a winner of this PRIZE. We just don’t realize it or think about it.
THE PRIZE IS “TIME.”
1. Each morning each of us awakens to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
2. When we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us.
3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is forever gone.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but your account can be dissolved at any time and WITHOUT WARNING…
So, what will YOU do with your daily gift of 86,400 seconds? Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.
Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much more quickly than you think it will.
Ask yourself what you would do differently, if today was your last 86,400 seconds on the planet. What really matters to you most? Think hard about this and jot down some ideas. This will help focus your mind. I know for me; it would be about spending that day with the people I love.
We can choose to go more places, buy more things, eat at fancier restaurants, write a new book etc……. but really, if we have learnt one thing in recent times. it Is that we can’t really control anything and as the timer runs out, so do the things of material value.
Every day, before I get out of bed, I take a few minutes to focus on the things that I am truly grateful for. These can vary from the biggest to the smallest- my faith, a hot shower, a warm bed, a roof over my head, the birds calling out to each other in the garden. I then move on to community – the nurses and doctors in the frontline, my postman, the people who serve me in the shops, my binmen, my family and friends and so on. This may seem like a strange exercise at first, but with practice, you will start to see a shift in your attitude towards each day.
It is sometimes easier to think of all the things which we don’t have, but we have more than we think. Dr Caroline Leaf states, “It’s incredibly exciting to realize that what we choose to think about and how we choose to think, can switch our genes on and off, changing the structure and function of the brain”. Just take a moment to focus on this statement. Our thinking patterns can restructure the pathways in our brain! Given this powerful fact, isn’t it worth considering how and what we think about?
Make a list and keep going until you run out of ideas
What are you grateful for today?
I often ask my clients to name the things they are good at or proud of themselves for. It never fails to surprise me; how difficult this question can be for some. When they draw a blank, I will prompt them by starting the list. You decided to come to see me today although I am a stranger to you; you drove here so you obviously passed your driving test and son on. Sometimes we just need a gentle kick start from someone who believes in our potential. Each of us has a gift inside of us, we sometimes need help to identify it.
So how will you seize today? Here is a prompt list:
- Whatever you do, give your 100% to it
- Tell the people you love, what you really feel about them. You may never get the opportunity tomorrow.
- “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Stop procrastinating. If not now, when? (See my November 2019 blog ‘Maybe I will start tomorrow’)
- Pencil in regular gadget-free times and stick to them. When at home, set these boundaries, so you can be fully present to those around you.
- Choose fear over regret. Funny statement I know, as you would probably choose neither. I heard this one recently and it made me think. If I let fear get in the way of my trying something, then the regret will be more difficult to cope with. If I don’t try for that promotion, asking someone out, sing in public or whatever it is that’s stopping us for fear of failure, then I will cease to be vulnerable but will have gained nothing. As elegantly put by fellow blogger, Josh Martin, “Fear is fleeting, regret is sticky”
- Take the first step, no matter how tiny. You will be moving in the right direction………forward
“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” ~James Dean
 Leaf,C. The Gift in You. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2009.
*Giselle Marrinan is the author of ‘Another Zero’ published with Book Hub Publishing.