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Six Months To Live

Six Months To Live

What would you do if you found out you had 6 months to live?

It happens. The husband of a friend of my wife’s just about a year ago. He was 49. I met him once. We passed in the town marketplace. Stopped for a brief chat and then were on our way. That was about 10 months before he died.  He was fine then.

Then the diagnosis. Cancer. It was very quick. A matter of months from diagnosis to death. It was October when he died. He found out in June.

It made me think. Was he someone, like most of us, who put everything off until later? I’ll travel the world one day.. I’ll start my own business one day.

There are so many people who hate their jobs but it pays the bills. Drag yourself out of bed Monday morning groaning. Into a cubicle for the day. Work all week waiting for the weekend. Was that the life he was leading? It is the life so many of us do.

From his partner:

‘I asked Paul if he would have changed one thing about his life what would it have been. His answer was “I’d have worked a lot less and done more of what was important to me.” ‘

That message is effectively from beyond the grave. No one ever said on their death bed, “I wish i’d spent more time in the office”.

The message I take out of this, and the message I want to communicate to you is that you must live your life in a way that assumes that maybe you have just 6 months to live.

I’m not big on the word “must”. People use it all the time, largely because many people are interfering busybodies who expect people to live life the way they do. You must eat this, you must do that you must believe this.

I on the other hand write about the things that work for me. I provide some tips but I don’t say “must” (usually). I don’t say you MUST do weights, MUST do yoga, MUST take up running or cycling.  I say, it would be a good idea to find some form of exercise that is fun for you, because exercise is good for you.

However in this case I will use MUST. Why because as another writer  once put it, too many people find themselves in the wrong job, with the wrong wife, and the wrong life.

If you’re religious, you might say, “well I have eternal life in the afterlife”. Good luck with that. What if you don’t? You may, you may not. No one actually knows. People may tell you they know, but they don’t.

All we know is that we have this life right now. What is right in front of us. If you are not sublimely happy in your life, change it now. Don’t get sucked in to destination addiction, like so many people.  I’ll be happy when this happens or that happens. I hate my work, but it pays well and when I’m retired I’m going to travel the world and going to write a book or whatever you want to do that you are not doing now because you don’t have time.

Paul probably was thinking that too. Turned out retirement at 65 never came for him; he didn’t get that far.

So I implore you. If you’re not satisfied in your life in any way, make changes now. Your health, your relationships, your work, where you live. Anything that you’re not satisfied with. Because you may go to the doctor tomorrow and find that you too have just a few months to live. If that happens, can you truly say that right now you are living the life that you would if you had 6 months left?

By the way, the image with this post is in fact Paul’s empty desk.


About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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