Live Life In Reverse

“Life can only be understood backwards;
but it must be lived forwards.”

~ Soren Kierkegaard

“Live each day as if it were your last. One day you’ll be right.”
~Steve Jobs

A few days ago, while on our spring break, the Zen Papa and I were trying to make a decision. Should we take a helicopter ride around Sedona Arizona. We considered not doing it because of the expense. Plus it was late and we needed to leave town. We’d be back to Sedona again. We could take that ride another day. But in the back of my mind. I heard my neighbor Lori, encouraging us to go.

Who is Lori? She was our neighbor for 15 years. She recently died. She got cancer at Christmas time 2010 and was gone by the following Christmas. She was only 62 years old. Lori didn’t think she was going to die. In fact she was planning on taking up cooking as a hobby and had just ordered all sorts of pots and pans online while staying in the hospital. For a whole year, her husband keep Christmas lights on a little pine tree in their backyard and vowed not to take them off the tree until Lori came home. We looked at it everyday and promised ourselves that we would not put off the things we wanted to do until later.

She’s has made me think about when I’m in my last days taking a look back on life. What a wonderful exercise to help you figure out how life should be lived! It’s a way of living life in reverse and having no regrets.

If you imagine life as an old woman or man, you could understand so much. Why the bad things happened to you. What you really wanted out of life. It’s kind of like asking yourself the questions, if you were at the end of your life what you would like people to say about you? If you are 50 now and you’re going to live to 80, you only have more 30 years? What will you do with that time?

If I could look back from a ripe old age, I will have:

1. Traveled the world, appreciated different cultures and landscapes
2. Not been fearful and followed my passions and been creative! I need to get out of the box and experience life!
3. Been healthy and in good shape
4. Mental Clarity and be able to find my keys!
5. Be positive!
6. Helped people – people I know and people I don’t know
7. The most important thing… I will have loved the family and friends in my life – really gotten to know them and let them know me. Having great relationships is the thing you’ll think about most at the end of your life. I will have shown my children that they are totally and unconditionally loved.

You can’t live life in reverse. You don’t know if you’ll live a long life. You need to TRUST that everything is happening or not happening the way it’s supposed to. You need to start doing what you want to with the rest of your life!

I love this from Steve Job’s commencement speech to Stanford:

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.

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 of 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 rap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
~Steve Jobs

We did took the helicopter ride with our youngest son and his friend. I listened to my intuition of my neighbor Lori sending me a message. We surprised the boys who were thrilled and so were we! After 20 years of seeing Sedona from ground level, we saw the town in a new perspective.

We saw life from a different perspective, too.

“Make today your masterpiece.” – John Wooden

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34 Responses to Live Life In Reverse

  1. What a beautiful and powerful message. Thanks for sharing your heart and that of your friend Lori’s. I’m taking this message forward for today and all of my todays. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Linda,
    So glad you enjoyed! I’ve actually been thinking about writing about here tree in the backyard for a long time. But this all happened perfectly!
    Hope you’ll be back to read more!! And I check out your site as well!

    [Reply]

  2. Vidya Sury says:

    Glad you listened, Betsy!

    Thanks for the mention!

    Love, Vidya

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    We are glad, too!
    Looking forward to traveling to India in the morning!!
    Love,
    Betsy

    [Reply]

  3. sheila says:

    Wonderful post. Sorta made me a bit teary about the pots and pans. :o( But I am pretty sappy sometimes, lol. Wonderful insights here, lovely post. :o)
    Sheila

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Thank you Sheila! I know, isn’t that terrible about the pots and pans. She really didn’t think she was going to die. And neither did we!
    Glad you enjoyed!

    [Reply]

  4. Betsy, I am so glad you listened to the promptings of Lori!

    She was probably grinning down on you from above – or she was perhaps in the helicopter with you:-)

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Arvind,
    We’re glad we listened, too!! I love the idea that she was in the helicopter!!
    Thanks for commenting!

    [Reply]

  5. Galen Pearl says:

    Make today your masterpiece. Now that is a saying to live by! Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Isn’t that quote just the best! I’ll have to be put it on facebook. Glad you enjoyed the post!!

    [Reply]

  6. Lori sure must have been applauding you, Betsy! Nothing like adding adventure to our daily life! ♥

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    And it was an adventure! Yes, I think she would have been very happy that we went. I know she hadn’t finished doing what she’d planned to do.
    Thanks for the comment!

    [Reply]

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  8. Love this.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Thanks Missy!! And thanks for the facebook share!

    [Reply]

  9. Kris Anderson says:

    Great post Betsy…..Garnie is applauding. I have had the Kierkiegaard quote framed on my wall for 25 years. Love it. Hope Lori stays in your mind always……she was right. No doubt she was your guardian angel on the flight. After all she suggested it. Ily

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Thanks Kris! I can’t believe you have that framed on your wall. Isn’t life amazing? Yes, she and my grandmother can be my guardian angels!!
    So glad you came by and commented! Thanks for your constant support!

    [Reply]

  10. It’s the constant thought in my head that life is short (maybe shorter than we think) that pushes me forward each day. I feel that I have so much to accomplish and so many lives to touch that I don’t have a moment to waste. At the same time, this thought is what makes me slow down and notice every tiny beautiful thing in my life: the love in my children’s eyes, the breeze on my face, the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets…. I could go on forever. Life is awesome. Enjoy everything about it now.

    Great post Betsy!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Thanks so much Paige!!
    That’s exactly how I feel, not a moment to waste! And it’s true that feeling helps you to appreciate the little things in life. I’m the same as you… I could go on forever, too!!

    [Reply]

  11. Terri Sonoda says:

    At 58, this got me to thinking more than you’ll ever know. Thanks for the enlightening and powerful message here. I’m listening!
    Terri

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    So glad you enjoyed, Terri! I’ve been thinking about his all year as I look at my neighbor’s little pine tree all year long.
    Thanks for your comment!!

    [Reply]

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  13. Betsy,
    This one really made me cry. Not only about what you have been through with your neighbor, but just the gentle reminder about how important it is to be grateful for each and every moment, and to have that guide your decisions.

    What beautiful pictures and a wonderful message.
    Thank you, my friend!
    In Harmony,
    Jen

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Jen,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed! I think you’ve gone through this with your older friend who has Alzheimers, right? Although, he lived a wonderful life and Lori’s was cut short. So glad you enjoyed!!

    [Reply]

  14. Hi Betsy,
    Way to go! We were in Sedona last week helping our friends move! We took a helicopter over the Grand Canyon but not Sedona yet! Isn’t life grand? xo

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Thanks Tess! We may have been there at the same time! Amazing!
    And yes, life is grand, really grand!!
    xoxo

    [Reply]

  15. genx says:

    I love this. This is so true. Unfortunately many people do not realize until too late. If only, like you said, we could live in reverse. I do think even the people who are aware still need constant reminders.

    [Reply]

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  17. Awesome post. Great message. Great reminders.

    [Reply]

  18. Alicia says:

    Today I was meditating about the meaning of life and kept coming back to one word: living. Then tonight I saw a bumper sticker that expressed the same sentiment. Just now I read this blog post. I loudly hear the message the universe has sent me today. Thanks for being a part of it! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Alicia,
    I’m so glad!! It’s amazing when those messages come your way. It’s like the universe needs to tell you several times to get through to you.

    PS You have such a beautiful family!

    [Reply]

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