October 5, 2011 Steve Jobs breathed his last in this world. Succumbing to pancreatic cancer the technological pioneer finally saw his last day that he had anticipated since being diagnosed in 2004.
Jobs was first told a very grim prognosis; six months to live. Later it was discovered that his form of cancer was responsive to treatment and thus Jobs lived a few more years.
At age 56 Jobs’ death strikes close to home since I’m only a year behind him and prompts me to once again reflect on my own mortality. Jobs gave a memorable commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 which is one of my favorite Ted Talks. In light of his diagnosis Jobs challenged the graduates to live before they die. Among his helpful comments he said…
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Without a fatal diagnosis is it possible to live as if you are dying? The fact of the matter is that we are all dying but most of us have the presumption that it will be far into the future.
If I lived as if I was dying I think I would give more generously, love more freely, forgive more quickly, make amends thoroughly, enjoy friendship daily, frequently kiss, hug, cry, laugh and know and worship God as deeply as possible.
What about you? What would be different if you lived as if you were dying?