These are your last 5 years

The larval stage of dragonflies may last as long as five years. The adult stage when they have wings and can fly only lasts as long as five or six months. (Wikipedia)
The larval stage of dragonflies may last as long as five years. The adult stage when they have wings and can fly only lasts as long as five or six months. (Wikipedia)

Imagine that today, June 19, 2013, is the beginning of your last five years. Imagine your life will come to a peaceful end on June 19, 2018.

How do you feel? Is it less time that you expect, or more? Does it seem like enough time?

What will your contribution be?

What do you still have left to do that will make your life complete?

Live in the time you have

A person of zest and vitality is present. Older people are often happier because they know they don’t have much time left. They appreciate small moments—wild daisies next to road, the antics of a squirrel or a playful baby in the grocery cart in front of them. They let go of worry over insignificant things.

Wild daisies

The happiest people pay attention. As you slow down, your sense of time stretches out like a summer evening on the porch as the sun reaches across the pasture, brushing the grass seed heads with gold.

We often chase imaginary moments and conditional circumstances. When I am like this, then I will be like that. When I am thinner, I will be happy. When I am richer, I will be secure. When this is settled, then I can relax.

Be happy now. Feel secure now. Relax now. Don’t neglect the moment you already have. Live inside it, make it your home. Occupy it with your own sense of style. Deepen your experience.

Be silly

You might as well have the most fun you can in your last five years, right? Do you want a lack of embarrassment or stories to tell? As my friend Debbie does, make your own dance floor. Bring your own party.

Playfulness makes joy!

Name your places, things, actions

In your last five years, where would you go? Would you keep living where you are? Make a date to move if you’re not in the place you belong.

Is there someplace you want to visit? Set a travel date during the next five years.

What have you longed for that you don’t have—a talking parrot, a yacht with a chef or a beauty pageant crown? Right now, make a list of what you want but don’t have, and then write why you want it.

What do you need to do with your last five years? Are you doing the right work? What do you still need to learn or read or make? Write it down.

Will your spiritual practices sustain you as you face the end of your life? Make a note of what you need for strength and grace. Include notes on how you will pursue these practices.

The people of your life

Who do you need to see more of?

Who do you need to stay away from?

Pledge that you will surround yourself with only those who support your true self and you will avoid those who tear you down. I’m not saying to only be with those who agree with you. Conflict is natural. It’s good to be challenged by differences in perspective and personality. But protect yourself from those who hurt you and treat you as if you’re worthless. Your time is valuable. You are valuable.

What do you need to say? Make amends where needed. Put your heart in words to those you love.

Who needs time with you?

All the important people in your life will treasure more connection, more memories and more experiences with you.

Be with them. Bless them with your presence.

Live your life as if these are your last five years. Make it meaningful. Make it count.


6 thoughts on “These are your last 5 years

  1. Wonderful post. Every day of my life beyond cancer (since 2000) has been different than the years before. So well-written and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love this Gen! It’s the way I try to live. We have to be cognizant, all the time, that what we have and what we are experiencing right now, are all we really have. Having just had 2 weeks with my dad, knowing that he was dying, I felt so blessed to be a part of his last days, sitting on his deck, watching birds vie for the birdbath, watching hawks fly overhead and below us, watching the hummingbirds hover a few inches in front of us! It was the most profoundly peaceful time in my life, with an amazing man who had so much drive, he seldom stopped for very long, but he was always aware of the natural phenomenon around him. As he had to slow down, and allow himself to become vulnerable, he allowed himself and those of us lucky enough to be around him, to just be.

    1. Your words touch our hearts, mine and Pogi’s. Thank you for giving us a little vision into a holy time, the last days with your beloved dad. I appreciate you leaving this comment.

  3. Gen, I’m honored to be mentioned in your blog! It made me dance a little jig! I’m seriously wondering if you aren’t the next Dali Lama–you are so wise! Keep writing!

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