Live Each Day As Though It Were Your Last

April 26th, 2006 by Potato

The adage is often misinterpreted. People take it (and the related Carpe Diem) to mean they should grab life by the balls and live it to the “fullest”, bugger the consequences. All too often, “fullest” is taken to mean “most fun”, all the sorts of things you wish you could be doing right now instead of work, or reading my website. The sorts of things you think you may wish you had done more of if it were indeed your last day. However, I suspect most people won’t necessarily wish they’d spent more time drunk or on a rollercoaster or out whoring around. They’d probably wish they called their mother more, or read with their kids, or went for a bike ride with their friends. I’ve thought about it, and I think that if I were lying in a hospital bed knowing it was my last day, I would ask for a laptop, and I would write. I would do my very best to take what wisdom I’ve collected in my life, and set it down for others who follow1.

As another Earth Day passes by virtually unnoticed, I tell people not to live selfishly, bugger the consequences. As Frank Herbert said “The highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.” Still, live each day as though it were your last, but don’t just go thrill-seeking.

Rather, don’t put important things off for another day that might not come. Make your mark on the world, do the meaningful things that will be your legacy.

With God above and the Potato below, I hope there is an afterlife. I pray for it (and moreover, pray that it will be pleasant). I want to watch over humanity, and hope my descendants live on through the end of time, populating the stars and mining the secrets of the universe…

…however, I doubt that there is one — or if there is, I do not think there is any return, no (meaningul) influence extended from that realm to this one. Its existence cannot be relied upon. So if you seek immortality, you must earn it here and now, in this life. After you’re gone, all that will remain are your works and your offspring. It is my religious belief that our duty — our sole duty when all is said and done — is to improve the world around us just a little bit. To fight back againt entropy; to plant trees under whose shade we do not expect to sit, and to raise our children to be better people than we ourselves are.

So, I propose a new saying: “Live each day as though it were the first in the life of your new child.”2

Most of us, not having experienced that day, don’t really know what it’s like (the closest I can come myself is the birth of my baby sister). But we can imagine it: the feelings of joy, hope, and responsibility. Which brings me to another phrase I’ve coined just now: “what would Daddy do?” Again, I’m probably a freak amongst my peer group for thinking of these sorts of issues, but I have to wonder: would I want my son3 doing the same stuff as me? Would I be able to tell him of my experiences in this life and be proud of it, and not be shamed into lies of omission? Would I ever have to face being a hipocrite, telling him not to do things I used to do all the time myself? Would I want my daughter to date a guy like me? It’s sort of like trying not to make my mother ashamed of me, but somehow it seems more important when I think about it this way around. Perhaps that has something to do with the weird little things that make my mother ashamed of me, like when I wear a hat indoors, or sleep in past noon…


1. Then, I’d probably load up a game of StarCraft to try to take my mind off things.
2. And I don’t mean running around like a crazy person and screaming with labour pains.
3. No, Wayfare isn’t pregnant. I really do think of these sorts of crazy things just out of the blue.

2 Responses to “Live Each Day As Though It Were Your Last”

  1. Netbug Says:

    What would C’thulu do?

  2. Ben Says:

    A religious scientist? Now I’ve heard it all!