Live each moment!

In his memoir A Million Steps, Kurt Koontz recounts how his 490 mile hike along the historic Camino de Santiago route not only tests his physical and mental endurance but also forces him to re-evaluate his life and reflect on the choices he has made thus far.
While effortlessly striding along,  (he never seems to fall victim to the maladies that afflict his fellow pilgrims), Koontz has what Oprah would call an “Ah Ha” moment. He suddenly realises how much of his life he has wasted and calculates just how few days he has left until his statistically pre-determined demise at the age of 80. It seems like a pretty substantial number to me, so at this point I must confess to feeling a certain lack of compassion for this physically fit and financially independent 48 years old retiree!
Nonetheless, despite my disdain, the notion stops me in my insomnia-induced reading tracks … assuming the same longevity, how many days do I have left?
Unable to contain my curiosity until morning, I fumble in the 3.00am darkness for a pen and paper to do the complex arithmetical calculation. After a few false starts, I figure out that I have to date lived for 21714 days, excluding leap year calculations, which are way too tricky for this hour. Further mental gymnastics reveal that I have only 7506 days left until my 80th birthday. Not too bad but still, time to get moving!

From a worm to a butterfly!
From a worm to a butterfly!

Now, I don’t need to walk 490 miles to figure out that life’s a journey but when, that very same morning, a friend sends me this cartoon and comments that in addition to being funny, it is a powerful philosophical metaphor for life, it struck a chord. Hopefully with time, experience and some introspection, but thankfully not always blisters and a backpack, we metamorphose from an immature ‘caterpillar’ into a colourful ‘butterfly’ sharing our (inner) beauty with the world. Sadly, however, some of us are doomed to learn little and spend our lives as dull, brown moths.
Like so many others, as a child I learned ‘the need to please’ and as an adult strove, although not always successfully, to be a good wife and friend, a caring mum and a diligent employee. All very commendable perhaps, but still very like a dull, brown moth!
I want to be a butterfly! I want to live all my (hopefully) 7506 days without regrets, so I have decided to rewrite the rules of my life and tap into my dreams and aspirations.
So, this is what I’ve come up with:
• Acquire less, do more
• Worry less and laugh more
• Love without reservation
• Abandon fear
• Travel, travel, travel and finally,
• Adopt the lyrics to my favourite Nickelback song that declare that “each day’s a gift and not a given right”.
What are your dreams and goals for your remaining days, however many or few there may be? See if you can inspire others by leaving your ideas in the comments section!

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Daphne says:

    Hmmmm Cathy ! I certainly don’t see you as a dull brown moth . I see you as a very colorful butterfly . And the more I get to know you the more colorful you become .
    BUT just this morning I was having similar thoughts . As hard as I try am not able to put them in words . Maybe we can discuss it over a cocktail in Thailand !
    One of your best posts !

    1. Thanks Daphne but I don’t see only one cocktail doing it! I’m so looking forward to many evenings with you watching the sunset , cocktail in hand !!!!

  2. Emma says:

    How easily we get trapped in the mundane journey of survival: work, home, work, home to pay bills and voila we start fantastic it would be to be 48, fit and financially independent enough to follow ones dreams, even if they are taken out of the dusty storage box in the back of your mind.. One day……….

  3. One day never comes but we do have today!

  4. Camilla Smith says:

    Being still locked into the mundane cycle of working to pay for survival, I am inclined to think that my list would start with de-cluttering. Who knows, those 1940’s autographed photos of movie stars may actually be worth a few $$$. But I always wanted to display them for fun!
    I tend to lose track of each day being a gift when I have survived the free for all traffic through the umpteen road works and broken robots as I wend my merry way to work.
    Mind you successfully avoiding half a dozen taxis, from as many directions could be classed as living life to the full … or at least living on the edge.
    Cath …. you were never a brown moth!

    1. Perhaps it’s time to move to Sedgefield and start to live the dream, Kym? Only you know just how colourful we both were in the old days and I’ll pay you not to tell. Hahaha!

  5. Hayley Hofman says:

    hey Cath! AMEN to your post… just love it and it’s exactly what i needed to read today as the ‘brown moth’ syndrome has been very visible of late…. thanks dear

  6. Oh Hayley! I’ve never met anyone less like a brown moth than you! Your colourful presence brightens the lives of all you come in contact with!!!

  7. Thank you for inspiring me to enjoy the days that are left in my life to the fullest.

    1. I hope there are very many of them and each one brings you joy! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my musings 🙂

  8. Brian Colmer says:

    Hi Skate, seems like October 13, was a busy day in your musings pot. I can’t remember who said it, and in reality I read it on the back of a Hullets sugar packet in a Spur Restaurant, having a great breakfast, oops, but I deviate, but wiser words have seldom been spoken, “No-one is useless who helps another,” what wonderful words for all of us to remember. Each and every one of us has had and can expect to have for however many days we have left, lives in which we have touched and affected the lives of other people. Yes, sometimes in a good way, and sometimes not, but always changing the others life.
    As I look back over my 63 years, I know that I would not change a thing. I have lived my life to the full, I have laughed, I have cried, I have hurt and been hurt. I have experienced every emotion imaginable, some of the things of my life I am proud of others not, but would I change anything? No! Because this is what defines me. I am over-weight and sometimes grumpy, but I love me. I am proud of what I have achieved, and look forward to my future with excitement.
    And you Catherine Ann, deserve to be the same. None of our lives are different from each other. The Daphne’s, Emma’s, Camilla’s, Hayley’s and Margret’s, all define who we are, and so, as you unfurl your beautiful wings and take flight into the next 7000 odd days of your life know that you are loved, for you, by people who are close, but also by those not so close. Continue to be blessed.
    Your Big Brother, Brian

    1. Oh how I do love you, my big brother!

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