One of the most inspirational women I know is guesting today with an important message. Meet my Australian friend, Sue Loncaric.
Losing loved ones is usually the time when we start to ponder our own mortality, but like most things we soon get caught up in life and start to take living for granted.
I lost my Dad when he was 66, my Mum at 63 and my brother at 65, so as I approached my own 60th birthday last year, thoughts of my own mortality became a more frequent visitor. When my Dad died he had just retired and was looking forward to spending time with my mother who was battling cancer. Within 6 months he was gone and so were his longed-for dreams.
I determined then that life was there to be lived and to make every moment count. Of course, life doesn’t always go to plan but it is vital that we make the most of each day that we have.
Few of us feel comfortable with the topic of death and our mortality and I certainly don’t like to think about it, however, the topic has crossed my mind more frequently of late.
There is no avoiding the issue – we will all die one day. It is how we live now that is important but equally important is how we address the issue of our own mortality.
I recently, wrote an article about ‘worry’ and how it can rob us of joy in our lives, especially when what we are worrying about is out of our control.
Death, is out of our control but we can ensure that we don’t become obsessed with it and lose out on living our life now, by taking control.
Here are 6 steps to taking control of your mortality and living the life you want now.
1. Accept and Acknowledge
Once we accept the inevitable and acknowledge that we won’t live forever, the subject isn’t quite so daunting. For some of us it can be a frightening thought, but seriously thinking about, accepting and acknowledging your feelings and fears can help.
2. Plan and document your wishes
I hadn’t really given much thought to this until my father-in-law passed away just over a year ago. Seeing my husband having to go through the pain of losing his father plus organising everything was very stressful for him. By documenting your wishes as to what you want to happen to you when you die, takes the pressure off those who are left behind.
Take time and have an ‘end of life’ discussion with your family. Sure they won’t want to talk about it, but it is a discussion that needs to take place while you are still healthy and can express your wishes clearly.
3. Keep fit and active
It is never too late to start living a healthier lifestyle. Keeping fit and active, not just physically but mentally and spiritually will add value to your life. Making healthier food choices and generally looking after your health and well-being will ensure that you can enjoy your life fully with energy and vigour.
4. Don’t stop acting on your dreams
Life is for living so don’t dwell on what may or may not happen. Act on your dreams and make them a reality. If you have an opportunity to do something you have always wanted to do – go for it! Don’t just exist but live.
Mark Twain sums it up perfectly:
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time’
5. Make gratitude a part of each day
Being grateful and thankful for all you have in life and make time each day to recognise the bounty you have. When you wake or before sleep (or both) reflect for a few moments on three things you are grateful for.
6. Make your life count
How do you want to be remembered? Embracing and living your life as a role model to your children, grandchildren and friends is a wonderful legacy to leave them. Above all make each day count and find joy in life.
It is easy to become obsessed with mortality, especially as we age, but why not put our energy and focus on living life to the full rather than obsessing over the future?
Surround yourself with positive people
People who are enthusiastic about life can certainly inspire and motivate us to enjoy life and make things happen.
Find purpose in your life
Having a reason to greet each day with anticipation is vital to our health and well-being. Giving back to the community by volunteering is a wonderful and rewarding way to bring purpose into your life.
Be spontaneous and have fun
Don’t keep saying ‘one day’ and putting off what you would like to do. Bring fun back into your lifestyle and try new things. It is amazing how excited you feel when you do something out of the ordinary or normal routine.
Learn something new or make time to include your passions which bring joy and pleasure to your life.
If this subject is disturbing to you and your mental well-being, seek advice from a professional to help overcome your fears or anxieties. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about how you feel.
I found this video on YouTube which really puts things into perspective.