Live Like You Were Dying

Posted on January 31st, 2014 by Kimanzi Constable

I can clearly remember the pain in my right arm, it came out of nowhere, very strange. It was about 7 pm on a Thursday night when I got the call from my grandpa, I remember feeling his sorrow through the phone.

photo (8)He’s 87-years-old and didn’t expect to out live his son. That Thursday night, my grandfather told me that my father had died. Even as I write those words, a year and a half later, tears are falling on my keyboard.

It’s crazy what you think you know in life. My parents divorced when I was young and the truth is, my father wasn’t in the picture. As I got older and eventually went off on my own, my father tried to establish a relationship with me.

The truth is I was bitter and didn’t let him get close. I thought I was “teaching him a lesson,” in the end, I was the one who learned one of the hardest lessons of my life. After I got that call from my grandfather, I sat there stunned.

I went through the next few days saying thank you to those that sent their condolences but inside I was numb, I didn’t know how to react. The funeral came and it hurt so bad, my arrogance, my need for revenge seem so stupid in the face of death.

He was dead, I couldn’t get back at him, I couldn’t teach him a lesson, I couldn’t forgive him. It was all over, there would be no more second chances. I lost any chance to ever reconcile. That night, it all came out.

I was sitting there, holding this card from the funeral and every once of liquid that I had in my body, came gushing out in tears. I cried for an hour straight, I just couldn’t believe he was gone.

You’ve heard the phrase “life is short,” we’ve heard it so much that it’s almost a clique. You really don’t fully understand what this means until you deal with the death of someone close to you.

What would you do if you were told you only had a certain amount of time to live? How would that change how you lived your life? Would you stay at a job you hated? Would you live a place you didn’t want to live in?

Would you let doubt and fear keep you from the life you truly want? I’m guessing probably not. I’m guessing everything that held you back in the past wouldn’t even be in the forefront of your mind anymore.

I’m guessing that you would treat each MINUTE as if they were the only ones you had left because they would be. No more wasted time, no more distractions, just doing all those things you’ve always wanted to do but let fear keep you from.

We are dying

Here’s something that we “get” but don’t truly understand: we do only have a certain amount of time. None of us will live forever, we all will die someday. When? Only our Lord knows but death is a certainty.

Why can’t we live like we’re dying?

Life really is short. I remember meeting my wife and here we are 15 years later with three big kids! Time truly flies. How much of my time so far on this earth has been wasted not truly living my life? The answer would probably shock me, the amount of time on the TV alone is scary.

Do I live everyday now like I’m dying? NO. This is easier said than done and it’s a daily fight but I’m determined to live a life of no regrets. I am aware of how precious time is and as much as possible I’m learning to live fully present. I’ve changed my mindset!

How are you living your life?

When you start to really understand what this means, things will change, priorities will change. All those doubts, fears and negative voices of others won’t seem as loud because you don’t have time to hear them.

Start today

I don’t know where you’re at in your life right now but I want to tell you from personal experience that living your dream life is possible. I’ve been where you’re at, I know exactly what you’re going through and I can vouch for the fact that there IS a way out.

You don’t need anymore information because there’s already a wealth of information that proves you can do this. If you have been hesitating or struggling, it’s time to realize that you’ll never get that time back.

Today is the day to take action, today is the day to start planning, today is the day to change the way you think about life, time and your dream. If you have already started down this road, today is the day to get refreshed, to get a fresh dose of inspiration and push even harder.

Life is short, it really is. How are you living like you’re dying? What specific actions have you taken since the beginning of this year?

22 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this story, Kimanzi. I know it must be hard. I’m going to be spending this weekend with family as we prepare to say our final farewells to one of my grandmothers who passed earlier this week.

    I try to live life keeping its brevity in mind, but it is hard. It’s easy to just stay complacent and to not take too many risks. But I’ve been thinking about it more and really it’s absolutely critical to remember that no matter how healthy/young we are, there’s always a chance either you or a loved one can disappear. So especially as I’m reminded of this, I try to think not only of my own mortality but of my friends and family. I want to be there and do wonderful things for them.

    Everyday, I try to push my goals ahead just a little more so that I can be an inspiration to others and do what I can to make the short time we each have better. I write just a little more, I connect with one extra person, and I try to be the best that I can be just a little harder.

    • Sorry for your loss Ryan, sending prayers to you and your family. I think you hit on the essence of what has been on my mind.

      You’re right, we know it but to live it is hard but I like your approach. We have to take it one day at a time and ask ourselves, how can I die empty today?

  2. Kimunya Mugo says:

    Thank you for sharing this Kimanzi. It is hard to have a loved one wrenched out of your life. The bitterness breeds resentment and hate. And those are a crazy mix. My father ‘died’ when I was seven. The whole story is in my new book. However, it took me 30 long years to forgive him. It is now a completely different journey to make physical contact. It was so bad that he has not even set his eyes on his 3 lovely grandkids, and that kills me. This year, I have to make it happen. I have to heal completely. I am already moving towards my dream, but without this closure, I will forever be held back.

    Today, I will write a letter to my 7-year-old self… it is the beginning of something great. Take care and have courage.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story Kimanzi. I would like to say I live life like I am dying but I don’t fully. Parts of me do more then I use to. Saying yes to my wife, my kids, and my dream more then I use to but I have more to improve here. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Sutton Parks says:

    “I couldn’t teach him the lesson”. Wow, that strikes home. I think in some crazy way I’ve often tripped myself up and failed just to “teach” my father a lesson, only to hurt myself. I can relate to that sentiment.
    This year I’ve lost a few pounds, quit smoking (4 days in a row), been hitting the gym and and dreaming bigger dreams while pursing an online business. I’ve blogged 7 times and put out 3 newsletters, but that is just a start. I appreciate your friendship, coaching and vulnerability Kimanzi.

  5. Dan Erickson says:

    I’m writing my story in poetry, song, and book. I’m teaching others the power of forgiveness. I’m preparing a legacy for my daughter. I’m willing to go new places and try new things every day.

  6. Kent Julian says:

    Wow! Live it forward concepts all through this post.

    Love what Sutton Parks wrote. He’s making it happen.

    Keep leading and serving Kimanzi. You’re a good man!

  7. This is powerful Kimanzi, thank you for sharing. been keeping my head down and working on the book! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration

  8. Steve says:

    Very powerful words, Kimanzi. They resonate with me. I remember when I got a phone call about a friend of mine who died suddenly. It was painful. It made me question where I was in life at that moment. Was I doing everything I wanted to do? Ever since then I’ve tried to live my life to the fullest. It’s strange that living life to the fullest is such a hard thing to do. How exactly are we supposed to be doing that?

    I do try to live as if I”m dying. I know I am, we all are. It can be a good motivator – at least in my opinion.

  9. TCAvey says:

    We all get upset with people. Sometimes when I get really frustrated with someone I love I remember losing my dad. Life is short. Too short for hurt feelings or fear. We have to let those negative things go in order to fully live and love.
    None of us are promised our next breathe, we shouldn’t waste a singe breathe on something that doesn’t bring love into someones life.

    Thanks for sharing these powerful words. God bless and keep you in perfect peace.

  10. Dan Black says:

    Yes, the truth is that we are all dying, so it’s essential that we take everyday seriously and to make it our master piece. Anyone who is breathing can begin to start taking action on the dreams they have. Great thoughts bro!

  11. […] TN and you won’t have the luxury of a 10 minute drive to mom’s house. Nor the gift to go see Dad down the […]

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