I read an article the other day about finding purpose in life. I read it partly because I was bored, and partly because I was a bit curious to see if it was actually going to offer some decent advice, as it wasn’t from any of the usual sites that people share articles from.
I don’t actually remember anything from the article (pretty sure this was over a week ago…) except the last question it posed: If you only had one year left to live, what would you do differently?
I thought that that was an interesting question. One year is long enough to accomplish something significant, but not too long that long-term consequences really matter. Of course, the assumption is that you’re practically invincible for this one, final year – otherwise, I (and I assume plenty of others) would probably become more risk-averse, and hence not want to do anything with high risk of mortality/morbidity.
But I didn’t really like how the question implies that most people would change a lot of things in their final year, so I created a converse question: If you only had one year left, what would you do the same?
Ok, so the original question is good for people wanting to re-focus on what’s really important in their lives, and for people who need a bit of a nudge to actually do the things that make them feel happy/inspired/fulfilled, etc. But sometimes you also have to recognise and appreciate the things that are already good. I found it more satisfying to ponder my question than the original one (although I have realised that the original question is an all-too-convenient excuse to buy things I don’t really need (but that’s arguable) and to eat more cake).
So, after some thought, I’ve put together a list of (some of) the things that I would not change if I knew I had exactly one year left to live:
- Work: This is probably one of the things that people consider first when asked a question like this (along with questions about winning large sums of money). Maybe I’d move to part-time hours, but I’d still go to work – up until the last couple of months at least.
- Run: I don’t think there’s much need to explain this. I like running. I see no reason to stop or reduce how much I run in this hypothetical scenario.
- Read: I would still read novels, but perhaps just be more selective with which ones I read. One I’d definitely want to finish is Dickens’ “David Copperfield”. I guess that’s next on my reading list then…
- Write: After having this blog for so long, I’d feel weird stopping it suddenly. Besides, despite the irregularity of my posts (timing, content, style, etc), I do like to write. I can’t imagine not writing for a year.
And, of course, there are several other things, but I reckon those are the main ones.