I don’t like to get on my pedestal and publicly shame people, but I feel a moral obligation to say something here. (Also, I actually do kind of like getting on my pedestal and publicly shaming people. But only if they sit silently and let me do it. I don’t like confrontation.)
As a society, we are constantly bombarded with the diatribe of “living each day as if it were your last.” Columnists, pop singers, new-age psychologists, tattoo artists…they all think they’re some kind of “made-you-think” poets with this line. But I find this philosophy to be – how do I put this delicately? – a compost pile.
Let me paint a picture for you of what would actually happen if I lived each day as if it were my last.
- I would be fired. Because guess what – if it’s my last day alive, I’m ditching work that day. And sometime around, oh, day 2 of me still being alive but not showing up to work, my boss would probably call. “Uhm – are you coming in today?” “Sorry, Boss. I’m living each day as if it were my last. I won’t be in.” “Uh-huh. Well, ya hippy freak, to me, today IS your last day.”
- I would weigh precisely 500 pounds. If I know it’s my last day on earth, I am eating Crunch Berries and Chocodiles for breakfast, two rib-eye sandwiches for lunch, and a Tommy’s Burger for dinner. Five pints of Haagen-Dazs for dessert. Now, that’s a dangerous way to conduct your diet for one day; but if it just so happens to not be my last day on the planet? Well, things are going to quickly get uncomfortable and, digestionally-speaking, unpleasant for me and everyone around me.
- My family would hate me. Imagine your child or parent calling you daily and saying, “I’m sorry to tell you this – but I’m dying. These are my final hours, and I just wanted to call and tell you how much I love you. Thank you for everything you’ve ever done for me. I will miss you.” Emotional havoc ensues. Everybody is a big, weepy mess…until the next day. And the next. And the next. Then your phone call eventually receives a response like this: “There are no powers on heaven or earth that will stop me from coming over there this instant and removing any doubt that you will be taking your last breath today.”
- Any material comforts would soon be gone – why pay my mortgage or gas bill? “Hi, Mr. Craig? This is Nevada Energy. I’m afraid we’re going to have to shut off your electricity if you don’t pay your bill today.” “Oh, do your worst. The joke’s on you! I’ll be dead tomorrow!”
- I’d be making some powerful enemies, telling certain people exactly what I think of them. Starting with Nevada Energy, but moving on to people who set the gas prices, customer service at APX Alarm, Bill Maher, and Oprah Winfrey.
My final point to this nonsensical advice of living as if you were dying is this: H.H. Morant famously said, “Live each day like it’s your last and someday, you’ll be right.” Really H.H.? You do recognize that all those days leading up to that tragic day are days you’ll be wrong, don’t you? What kind of faulty reasoning is THAT? If you are so desperate to be right about something, why not choose an event that you would be excited about? “Live each day in your pajamas, because someday, you won’t have to go outside.” Now you’re on to something. Have Dr. Phil tattoo that on your lower back, Tim McGraw!