Have you heard of the mayfly? The mayfly has the shortest life span of any animal on the planet. This unfortunate bug lives at most one day. One day! In some cases, mayflies only see a few hours of life, during which their entire purpose is to reproduce. All of this to say…
Over a pint, on New Year’s Day, after pizza, I asked my husband if we live every day like it’s our last. He said, “No.” He said if it were our last day on earth we probably wouldn’t spend it at a desk or running errands or catching up on ‘The Walking Dead’ before bed.
He’s right, sure, but, spoiler alert, GlennisalivethankyouJesus!
Anyway, what he actually said was that living every day like it’s your last is unrealistic. But, he said, given the parameters of reality, there’s nothing he’d rather do with most of his days, and isn’t that worth celebrating?
It made me think. Maybe we are setting unrealistic goals for ourselves and maybe it’s generational or cultural, or maybe it’s specific to our part of the world – some mutation of the American dream. Maybe living like there’s no tomorrow puts too much pressure on today and we end up missing it. We miss all the little, simple things that make today special.
Then I thought about our son, Forrest. He turned 4 months old this week and his hands have discovered what they can do. It is, unquestionably, the most epic discovery ever. Hollywood should make a movie where Matt Damon reaches out to grasp things and we have to rescue him from the ensuing, paralyzing bout of awe.
Even when all Forrest is seeking is his other hand, there’s celebration. His right hand flickers in desperate search of its pair and like a rocket ship to a landing pad, it slows, opens its fingers, and locks into place with his left. BOOM!
These little discoveries are happening every day and he can hardly take it. Sometimes, the wonder of it all is so overwhelming he cries.
Wouldn’t you? If your senses were keen to what’s happening in front of you right now, isn’t it possible that it could be great? And even if it’s not great – even if it’s mundane – it’s your moment and it’s fleeting, so it shouldn’t be missed, right? Certainly not because it’s “too small for iftherewerenotomorrow,” the more I think about it.
We are not, after all, mayflies, for whom there will absolutely be no tomorrow.
Then again, maybe the mayfly takes a different approach. Maybe, since it has no idea that its first day is in tragic fact its last, it approaches its only day as its first…
Maybe that’s what I could do. Instead of living every day like it’s my last and pouting in the consequent disappointment, I could live like it’s my first. I could take a cue from Forrest and Miss Mayfly and experience what’s happening when it happens like that specific moment has never happened before. Because it hasn’t. I could be entertained by the newness of today – what it looks like, feels like, sounds like – and that could be enough.
That today is happening to me for the first time – and isn’t that magical – could be enough.
Then, I could stop treating today like my last and just simply pay attention.
I’m going to try.
So, if today were your first day on earth, what, so far, would be blowing your mind?