Have you ever asked yourself that question, or one like it? Let’s say by some unfathomable means to you, you suddenly found out this would be your last day, just 24 more hours and then . . .
What would you do with those remaining hours of life? Go have a party, see family, friends or a few intimate moments with a lover? The possibilities are endless except it must be accomplished in only one days time.
Perhaps you could start out by asking yourself, what do I value most in my life? Are my immediate family the most important, my employment, my pet(s) or perhaps friends? It might even occur to you that whatever you wear, eat, drink, touch, own, drive, fly or whomever you know or love will at some point, slip away and be lost to you. It’s inevitable, it’s our Faustian bargain whereby we consider an endless stream of days ahead of us without seriously considering that none of us really know how much longer we will be attending this dance. Time continues, with or without us and perhaps even writing about such a thing can seem morbid or foolish to take into consideration.
George Barr McCutcheon wrote a book in 1902, originally under the pseudonym of Richard Greaves, titled Brewster’s Millions. The story revolves around Montgomery Brewster, a young man who inherits one million dollars from his rich grandfather. Shortly after, a rich and eccentric uncle who hated his grandfather from a family falling out many years before, also passes away. The uncle will leave Brewster seven million dollars, but only under the condition that he keeps none of the grandfather’s money. To inherit the seven million dollars, Brewster is required to spend every penny of his grandfather’s million within one year, and end up with no assets or goods gained by his grandfather’s wealth at that time. Should he make the deadline, he will earn the full seven million; should he fail, he remains penniless.
Brewster is required to demonstrate business sense by obtaining good value for the money he spends, limiting his donations to charity, his losses to gambling, and the amount of his tips to waiters and cab drivers. Moreover, Brewster is sworn to secrecy, and cannot tell anyone why he is living to excess. Working against him are his well-meaning friends, who try repeatedly to limit his losses and extravagance even as they share in his luxurious lifestyle. It has made a great plot for several films (10 so far).
As fanciful and humorous as this story unfolds, in reality our life is a bit like this book. Many of us, by no means all, are given a significant amount of time; life’s capital. We are free in many ways to make choices with this time, starting with the richness of many days, dwindling eventually down to a few and then one. So as whimsical or preposterous as this question might seem, perhaps the thing to ask of yourself; are the things I do today of real value or important in my life. Do they provide meaning, or enhance value for myself? Are the activities I choose this day beneficial to others in some tangible way?
Of course only you can answer any of this and the honesty in your response may suggest how much value the next 24 hours really are to you.
Maybe this might be of help, as you take time to evaluate what is important in your life.
If fear is cultivated, it will become stronger.
If faith is cultivated, it will achieve mastery.
– John Paul Jones (Revolutionary War hero)