Several months ago I started developing a weird mental habit.
I started to think, What if I only have a year or two to live? What if I only have a couple more birthdays, tops, and then… Whamo! I’m a goner.
Lately, I’ve even started telling myself that I only have a couple more years to go. You know how that make me feel?
Liberated. Strangely but definitely liberated. Free. Even happier.
I mean, it’s not like I’m about to raid my 401k. I haven’t given up saving money.
But in the meantime, I haven’t been very concerned about not getting financially ahead or that my car is making an unhealthy squeaking noise. So what if I have to get a new car? It’ll be the last one I’ll ever have to shop for. Such relief!
I’ve already begun to spend less on clothes because what I have will more than last me to the end. I’m even getting along better with a couple family members and I’ve become more social and outgoing. And I’ve stopped putting off plans for summer fun because this could be my this is my last or second-to-last summer.
Realistically, I might have a couple decades ahead of me. But see, by nature I can be a serious worry-wart. We’re talking worrying, fretting, habitual day-after-day planning. I’ve also had to be on my own most of my adult life which means I am SOOOO TIRED of looking after myself. Really worn-out tired.
Yet when I gradually decided to Live Like I’m Gonna Die, my life really did start to feel easier. Lighter.
And how is this change affecting me as a writer?
Well, I’m not planning a book or script on the subject because there are already a ton of stories with characters who learn they will soon die (tragedies), or wrongly think they’ll die but in fact will live (comedies). What this attitude is doing for me as a writer, however, is to make me more focused. I’m determined to get my two Charity MacCay books published, traditionally or indie. I’ll write that very short non-fiction work. And for fun I’ll start that screenplay. But that’s it. I’m finding myself simultaneously disconnecting from writing because I want to have a real life with what time is left me.
So now I do have to ask—have you ever thought about what you would do if you were going to die soon? Not if you had just a few days or months, but a few years at most?
Kinda funny, isn’t it, how thoughts of THE END can make us think of a new beginning.