You have a year to live …

… how will you spend your days?

What if you found out today that you’re going to die in a year? No pain or suffering, of course; you’ll simply “walk through the door” into Judgment City, ala Albert Brooks in “Defending Your Life.”

" ... something's coming I don't know what it is but it is gonna be great!"

It’s worth renting if you haven’t seen it. Brooks plays an L.A. ad executive, driving his brand new BMW down the boulevard singing, ” … something’s coming I don’t know what it is but it is gonna be great…” and WHAM! A collision with a city bus leaves him in a daze, wearing a caftan and riding a tram to Judgment City.

Perhaps you’ve faced this truth as well, either through your own ailments or that of a loved one. This is about focusing on what to do with your healthy days. A combination of lyrics, conversations and even “Defending Your Life” have helped me focus. For example:

  • Lyrics: “… may I know life’s shortness,” sung in a beautifully haunting melody in “Restless is the Heart” by Bernadette Farrell.
  • Conversation: “What do you say to people when they’re dying?” I asked a minister friend who just came from the hospital. “I asked him how he felt about his life, then I listen.” Then he said, “How do want to feel at the end of it all?”
  • Movies: Brooks’ character Daniel Miller has to defend his life before he can “move to the next level” and learns he never faced his fears, which is holding him back. He meets Meryl Streep’s “Julie” who IS moving on because in the Past Lives Pavilion, she finds she was Prince Valiant and also saved her family and a kitten from a burning house!

This “never facing your fears” thing spoke volumes to me. What must I do? Where must I go? What would I regret?

(sigh) I’ve moved back to Indiana to be close to my family, I’m working out, taking guitar lessons and writing the damn book. So much to do, so little time.

How has it been for you? You get just this one ride. “Knew it was a one-way ticket,” Ed Harris’ Brinkman said in “The Abyss.” How will you be at the end? Are you going out singing or will you have regrets?


One response to “You have a year to live …

  1. awesome and relevant!

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