While Steve Jobs’ Stanford speech is inspiring in every way, I have often wondered about the pragmatism of this particular part of his speech:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Is it that easy to live every day as if it is the last day of our lives? Not for me. I’ll be honest; on cold winter mornings like today, the answer to the above question would most definitely be a No. I wouldn’t want to come to work, especially if it was the last day of my life. I am no Steve Jobs, who can dare to dream big and make it their reality. I am your average mortgage-paying, nine-to-five working, workout-hating person….with a child to raise and ageing parent to support. And remote support (from another part of the world), as you can guess, can become an emotional roller-coaster. You end up living two lives; often feeling like you’re not doing justice to either.
Today, was one such day. A day when I wished I was in India, by my Ma’s side. Today, she is to see a new doctor, who would hopefully show us some light at the end of the tunnel. But I was here….oceans away….living the other half of my life. While I struggled out of bed, I kissed my sleeping, almost-six year old, goodbye for the day. She went to bed with a wobbly tooth. I, for one, am not ready for her to lose her first milk tooth just yet. When I pick her up from school today, maybe that tooth will be gone. My baby would have grown just a little bit. Not sure if it was the hormones or the winter chill, but I walked to the driveway, teary-eyed.
Just then, I looked up at the sky. And there it was! The amazing pink hues of dawn (pic above), which leaves one awestruck. There it was…a moment in time…that will stay with me forever. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. For my life, my work and mostly, my people. The magical skies reminded me of everything I was so thankful for. For the friend who made this doctor’s appointment possible…For the niece and cousin who are taking a day off today to take Ma to her appointment….For Borda and Boudi, my second set of parents…For the friends who have stood by me through the toughest times….For the neighbours in India who have been helpful in more ways than I can list….For the family members who have been kind, patient and generous….For my friends in Australia who have put up with my highs and lows…For my work, which allowed me the flexibility, the financial freedom and the friendships needed to make a first-generation migrant’s life less challenging than it sometimes can be. For my daughter and husband, who fill my life with joy (when they are not driving me crazy!).
Tomorrow, I may crib, cry and complain again. But today, I choose gratitude. I may not be living today as if it was the last day of my life. But I am choosing to dwell on the pink sky...not the dark clouds. Apparently, the colour pink represents caring, compassion and love. It stands for unconditional love and understanding, and is associated with giving and receiving care. And today’s morning sky makes me convinced that whoever came up with that meaning, wasn’t far from the truth. I would only add “gratitude” to it.