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Only Six Months to Live
What is it about the words, “You’ve only got six months to live,” that strike such fear in a human heart and shake a person to his or her very foundation? Why do those words cause such shock to those who receive them? Is it because they now know that their time is limited, and they realize that they’ve left so much undone? They realize that they have so much left to do and so little time to do it. And there won’t be any more time after this. They begin to value time in a wholly different way, now that they truly know it won’t go on forever.
Would you live your life any differently if you knew you only had six months to live? I think you would. You’d realize that you don’t have lots of years left, and if you’re ever going to do that “something special” with your life, now’s the only time you’ve got to do it. And time is running out fast.
There won’t be lots of tomorrows. It’s today or it’s never! Get that through your thick head! Every day is a priceless jewel which can never be replaced. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Every moment puts you one moment closer to the time when you’ll have no more moments left; when whatever you were going to achieve in this life is already history. When that time comes, the party’s over for you. And there’s no reprieve. What you didn’t get done, won’t get done—by you, in this lifetime.
How much good and progress is never achieved because we believe we’ve got plenty of time to live? How much work gets put off until tomorrow because we believe we’ve always got tomorrow? How many relationships get only minimal attention because we’re too busy? How many children grow up and leave home, never getting to know their parents, because their parents believe they’ll spend some time with the kids “tomorrow”? And “tomorrow” never comes. And then it’s too late—they’ve grown up and left home forever. And what could have been precious memories they’d treasure for a lifetime are now only empty possibilities.
We procrastinate away our future, simply because we believe we’ve “always got tomorrow.” As someone once put it, “Time waits for no man, and few women!” We think we’ve got tomorrow, yet we don’t know that we have it. Our “six months” could have begun 179 days ago. Today could be our last day! We just don’t know. And not knowing can kill you, if your time runs out before you get things done!
Do you know the nice part about this scenario? While you still have time left, you can still call the shots! If you choose to, you can live your life as if you only had six months to live, even if you’ve really got many years left. Living your life in six-month segments, with this kind of focus on accomplishing what’s really important to you, could give you the opportunity and determination to really make a difference in your world and to live your life to its fullest. It could help you focus on the things that really count—on the things you want to be sure get said or done before you leave this life. It could help you get your priorities straight.
And the best part is this—you can start doing it today, while you still have some time left! And if you should have more than six months to live, you’ll have accomplished the most important things you wanted to do. And you’ll know that your life was lived to its fullest, because you chose to live it that way!
Charles David Heineke, 1994
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