Today, you’ll die. Your friends will never speak to you again, your family will disown you, the vacation spot you’re looking forward to will cease to exist, and the relationship you thought was so secure will come to a grinding halt. Today is the last day. You’d better make it count.
This is the refrain we here over and over again. “Treat every day like it’s the last.” Philosophy, the culture of guilt, and a host of other voices implore you to treat every day as if this is the one last chance you’ll get to beg for forgiveness, prove your love, leave a positive impression…. and most importantly, atone for a lifetime’s worth of errors. Somehow, the most powerful day of our lives is not the first, but the last.
Sadly, on our last day, our actions can only have so much effect. If this is truly my last post, I have only one attempt to change my readers. If this is my last day, I can only hope that my transgressions are forgiven. If this is my final hour, my beliefs of the power of humanity can only reach so many before I expire.
This ever-present belief that only those near the end can dare to act on their own free will, or hope to ensure that those around them will remember them fondly, is a crushing barrier to a far more powerful belief. That tomorrow matters. That what you do today is something that will impact people around you. That the time you have on this earth is more than just an opportunity to atone for failure but a time to change this world for the better.
To the philosophy of life being a waiting game until death… I say no.
Today, you will live until tomorrow. Today is the first day of a newly blooming love, no matter how long you’ve loved someone. Today is the first time you’ve met friends who you will be with for a lifetime. Today is the first few hours of a job that will create something that changes somebody’s life. Today is the first time you’ve been introduced to the belief that tomorrow, you won’t be a memory, but an impact on the people around you.
The first day of a new love, there is no distance to great to cross or action too crazy to prove that this is something that will mean something to you tomorrow. The first day you walk on to a new job, there is no limit to your belief that you can matter to the people around you. When you first meet friends, first walk out on stage to speak, first consider some unique way to change the world…. that is our most powerful moment.
We lose this faith not because we fail to think about our last day, but because we forget to consider our drive and emotion on the first. It is a difficult, and almost unconscious leap to make, but just for me to realize that this is not the last post I will make (for if it was, there would be no point in making it), but the first in a series intended to inspire many people to hope, and more importantly, to action. This belief that tomorrow, not yesterday, is what drives us, is a critical and often overlooked need in our culture.
Today, though, is not the last day. It is the first of the many days ahead that you can use to change those around you for the better.
When your last day on earth does indeed arrive, look back and say “all of my other days, I believed in life as much as I did on the first day.”