Thursday, June 30, 2005

On living like it's your last day

Okay, so a friend forwarded me the text of Steve Job's graduation address at, I dunno, some school. The e-mail didn't say. For all I know, the entire thing never took place and somebody has been sending around inspirational quotes attributed to Steve Jobs. But a lot of it was pretty solid good advice, so I read it, and one quote jumped out at me:
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Sounds like pretty good advice, right? We don't know how much time we have left here, and it's better to live a fulfilling life than to put off fulfillment for a day we aren't sure will actually come.


I haven't discussed it with my landlord, but I'm pretty sure they won't be willing to accept fulfillment in lieu of a rent check at the first of the month. Similarly, I think that my editor would, at best, suggest therapy for me if I told her, "Yeah, the awards ceremony I was supposed to cover? Not really what I'd want to do on the last day of my life. I wrote this lovely short story instead." I can tell you for sure and for certain what I'd like to be doing on the next-to-the-last day of my life, but I can tell you with just as much certainty that doing that every day is likely to get me in more trouble than anything else.

So here 'tis: has anyone actually ever answered the above question affirmatively? Does anyone know anyone who has? And if you could say, "Yeah, I could die happy," do you actually have some profession/occupation/vocation that makes you so blissful every day, or are your standards so low that whatever you're doing is good enough for the last day of your life?

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