A friend was very enthusiastic about this video. She said it was life-changing:
It is one hell of a video, but I’m not sure I agree with the speaker’s conclusions.
The speaker, Ric Elias, describes what it was like to have a front-row window seat on Flight 1549, the one a couple of years ago that went down on the Hudson. He describes his thoughts as the engine choked, he saw the terror in the stewardess’s eyes, and watched out the window as the plane narrowly missed the George Washington Bridge and approached the surface of the Hudson River.
He was sure he was going to die. He regretted all the times he’d let his ego drive him, fighting with his wife over things that didn’t matter, not spending enough time with his kids.
It comes down to the philosophy: Don’t waste time. Cherish the people around you. Live each day as if it were your last. I agree with the first two parts of it, but I disagree with the third part.
I used to phrase my disagreement as a joke: If you lived each day as if it were your last you’d never have any clean laundry. Because nobody wants to do laundry on their last day.
But I think I can articulate my objection better now. What I mean to say is that if you’re constantly aware that you might die, you’re not in the moment. You’re in that other moment, the moment in the future — perhaps only an instant in the future, but it isn’t now — when you’re dead. Which is kind of a drag.
Instead you should just be aware that life is finite. When making choices, be aware that every choice has opportunity costs. Whatever you’re doing now, be aware that you’re not doing other things, so make sure you’re okay with that decision.
Then forget about it and live in the moment.
I’ve recently been watching reruns of Roseanne on Netflix. I missed that show the first time around. It really was a hell of a show. The third episode of the first season revolved around Roseanne and Dan going out to dinner, while Roseanne’s sister Jackie babysat the kids. Except Jackie was late, and the kids tried to lock her out, so she snuck in and surprised them. Hijinks ensued.
At the end of the episode, Roseanne and Dan come home to find the house dark, the TV on, and the three kids and Jackie sprawled out asleep on the couch and the floor. The room is covered by a blanket of junk food wrappers and empty soft drink cans.
Nothing bad happened. Nobody faced any crises. Nobody faced death, or had any big, tearful hugs. It’s just everybody had a good time together and they all fell asleep. Which is what every day should be like.