If you knew today was your very last day on earth, how would you spend it?
It’s a hard topic to tackle, believe me.
A dinner party favourite is to contemplate what you would choose as your last meal, as if you were a prisoner awaiting execution.
A self-development standard is to imagine you are at your funeral, listening to your eulogy. Imagine what your family and friends say about you. What do you wish they would say about you?
Then there’s the late-night, drunken musings on New Year’s Eve as you make a thousand resolutions that you know you’ll probably break by the end of the week.
These exercises all have a place in our lives, for they help us reflect on what is really important. Would we really sit ourselves in front of our widescreen TV watching Survivor, eating take-away pizza? Would we really continue to work in a job we hate, just because we need the money to pay for that widescreen TV?
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with many “perfect days”. Some I have spent mostly alone; some have been spent with my closest family and friends; some with a large group of my favourite people; some with complete strangers.
For me, all of them have had a central theme – a deep connection with the natural world: a walk on the beach or through the forest, a picnic in a park, an awe-inspiring tour in wild, remote places, a close encounter with special creatures. All of them have also offered a strong connection with other humans – an individual met by pure chance that delivers the truth you need today; the sheer joy of watching and interacting with your child or the love of your life; the warmth delivered by being with those you love and whose company you enjoy; the energy provided by the excitement of a group.
Is this so surprising? We are social creatures, and we are part of this world, this universe.
I am writing this taking a break from a trade show upon which much of my future lies. It’s an important time for my business, and I am grateful to be here. Yet its primary purpose is to turn the cogs of our consumerism; to feed the endless desire for more, better, new. It’s hard to balance with my belief that this very culture prevents us from becoming at one with the world, in the way I have on those “perfect days”.
We are lucky to live in a society that can afford these beautiful things I see here. I am rather partial to a few of them myself! Yet when it comes to the crunch (your last day on earth, for example), would you really go shopping?
Not me. I’d be having breakfast at my favourite café in the hills, with fabulous coffee and pancakes smothered in raspberries and crème fraiche. I’ll follow it up with a walk in the forest, staring up at the second tallest trees on earth, touching the moss, admiring the tree-ferns hundreds of years old. Then a trip to the beach with my hubby and son, playing in the water, building sand castles, just sitting watching them muck around together and laughing until it hurts. A light picnic lunch, perhaps? Then as the sun sinks below the horizon, there’ll be the most beautiful dinner party with my closest friends on the foreshore. Lit up by the stars and lanterns, we will drink amazing wine, share fabulous food (I don’t really care what, so long as it’s fabulous), and talk and laugh and be. The odd fire-twirler or drummer down the beach, just randomly practicing, would be nice too.
How the day ends, I simply cannot contemplate… I’m just not ready for it to end. So instead, as the exercise that it is intended to be, I will simply reflect on what is most important in my life, and try to do more of that NOW.
So, what would you do? What is your perfect day?
Oh, it’s such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you. Oh, such a perfect day. You just keep me hanging on, you just keep me hanging on… Lou Reed
This post was inspired by Foodies Story Starters as part of my Story Starter Challenge. The cards were – My last meal… Picnic or El Fresco.