Treat People Like Today Is Your Last Day, Because It Very Well Could Be
We need to treat people like today is literally the very last day we’ll ever see them, as though it’s our last day on earth. After all, as I’ve said before, tomorrow isn’t promised. Let’s discuss.
Treat People Like Today is Your Last Day Because it Could Be
Last year, when things first started getting really bad, I wrote about how we should never wait to tell people we love them. It was an impassioned plea inspired by the deep sense of loss we, as a nation, felt over the tragedy that was unfolding before our eyes.
It was a time of kumbaya and holding hands (metaphorically since we couldn’t actually touch anyone outside of our household physically). A time of coming together. Banging pots and pans to let front-liners know how much we appreciated them. A time of “we can all Netflix and chill this thing away together!” A very different time, indeed.
Today, we’re almost two years into things. We’re all burned out, frustrated, edgy, grouchy, grumpy, just plain tired…and it’s kind of making us mean. So, we need to move beyond just saying “I love you” because someone may not be here tomorrow. We need to act like WE won’t be here tomorrow and treat people the way we want to be remembered. We are all, after all, just temporary fixtures in this world.
Everything- including us- is temporary. Except for love.
Author R. Queen (mostly known for comic books) wrote,
“If you love something, love it completely, cherish it, say it, but most importantly, show it. Life is finite and fragile, and just because something is there one day, it might not be the next. Never take that for granted.
Say what you need to say, then say a little more. Say too much. Show too much. Love too much. Everything is temporary but love. Love outlives us all.”
Everything, including us, is temporary. Nothing lasts forever except love. Love is the one thing that goes on, that passes down through generations, that determines our place in our family’s history. When we treat people with love and respect, we live on in their good memories. Long after we’re gone, our descendants will tell stories about how far we went to show just how much people meant to us.
How you treat people determines your place in history
If we treat people like – let me be blunt and cut to the chase- crap, that’s exactly how we’ll be remembered for generations to come. I was talking to a friend about this, and she was telling me a story about her great-great-grandmother, who was an actual Countess in Italy. What a neat piece of family history, right? She must have so many interesting stories about her!
“Not really,” she told me. “The only thing I know about her is that she disowned her sons for moving to America, then drank away the fortune to get back at them and died a bitter, lonely woman that even history forgot about.”
Her simple act of hatred and the harsh way she treated her family outweighed literally every other fact about her. That is ALL she’s remembered for.
On the other hand, her family still talks about how great-great-grandpa Joe spent weeks digging a hole (remember, this was a time before big machinery, so he literally had to dig the hole himself) in his backyard to create an ice-skating rink for all of the kids in the neighborhood just to see their faces light up.
That one memory- that one simple act of love- ties him to countless other memories. He lives on throughout the generations, remembered for his compassion, his humor, even his innovativeness.
Before we move on, I want to share another quote that I think really drives this message home. It says, “If we remember every day that we could lose someone at any moment, we would love them more fiercely and freely, and without fear- not because there is nothing to lose, but because everything can always be lost.”
Treat EVERYONE as if there’s no tomorrow.
Like I said earlier, though, this isn’t just about letting people know that you love them. It’s about acting like everything you do and say could be the last thing you say or do. If you believe in an afterlife, imagine that where you go is determined by your very last act on earth. If you don’t believe in one, imagine that your very last act will become your entire legacy.
Don’t just love like there’s no tomorrow. Laugh, dance and sing like there’s no tomorrow. Show kindness and compassion to others like there’s no tomorrow. Perhaps most importantly, forgive like there’s no tomorrow.
“Never go to sleep angry. Because you never know if you or the person you’re mad at will wake up the next morning. Always forgive because you never know if you’ll talk to them again. Things happen. Get over it. Always forgive. You may not forget but it’s better than knowing you’ll never get to say sorry, or I love you again.”
If we all started treating people not just as if they won’t be here tomorrow, but also as if we won’t either, I think we’d all be a lot kinder and gentler with each other. I’ll leave you with one last quote that really just says it all.
“Realize things before it’s too late. Love people before you lose them. Life comes just once. Love it while you live it.” If you follow that advice and treat people as if today is your last day on earth, you’ll have no regrets.
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