"“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."
- Steve Jobs
How inspirational. And it would be great if we could all live like that. No disrespect to Mr. Jobs, or to his memory. However, there are very, very few people who are able to live this way. Maybe 2% of us make a living doing something we would spend our last hours on earth doing. For the other 98% of us, this quote is terrible advice.
If I truly lived every day as if it were my last one, I'd spend all my time on the phone with my parents, hanging with my Other Half and my kids, going for a long bike ride, then drinking too much and trying to take my lady to bed.
In other words, work, paying bills, even eating well, would be the furthest things from my mind. About a week of living like it's my last day alive would have me unemployed, broke, evicted, hungover, and living in a box under an overpass.
Better advice is to live every day as a teaching legacy and a mental snapshot of your life for your loved ones. Be responsible enough, have fun enough, show your children how to enjoy life now, while also ensuring that continued enjoyment. And sometimes that means doing the absolute last thing you'd do if you knew you were going to die at the end of the day.
Carpe diem, as much as you can while also illegitimi non carborundum.