#MyFinal24: What I'd do with one day left
My internet hero, Alexandra Franzen just published her latest book. It’s called, So This Is the End: A Love Story.
Before I get to the story, Alex is the reason my first little book exists.
In 2015, I traveled to her place in Portland, Oregon, for a tiny book-making retreat. I met 10 other amazing writers and wrote most of my book on the 4-hour plane ride home. I published it on Amazon two months later.
The book-making retreat was the kick in the pants I needed to stop talking about writing my book “someday” and just to write it.
Back to Alex’s current book.
In the fictional story, the character, Nora dies suddenly. Expires. Bites the big one.
Then, she gets a second chance. A mulligan. 24 additional hours to live—so she can, you know, wrap it up and put a bow on it as she walks toward the pearly gates.
Nora doesn't want to waste a single minute. But she ends up meeting an incredible man—the love of her life, on the very last day of her life.
I’ve read the book, and it’s both heartwarming and delightful. And, it’s going to make you think. And probably cry.
When Alex announced the book to her newsletter (one of maybe three newsletters I subscribe to), she offered up an assignment.
The question: “If you had just 24 hours to live, what would you do with your time?”
At first, I got ready to close the email and get back to work. “This is dumb,” I thought.
Then it nudged at me all day long.
SO what WOULD I do with one more day to live?
I realized something in the resistance. I might not be living my life every single day to the fullest. Maybe you’re nodding along too?
Often we resist the thing we need to do most, and this list was it.
Here’s my list:
I’m going to revisit this list often, and encourage you to write your own. You know, just in case you get a tap on the shoulder, “You’re next, buddy.” Or, just in case you need a reminder to say the thing, write the book, share the art, call the person, or let go of the grudge.
Here’s what I’d do:
Delete Facebook (and Instagram). No public announcements.
Round up all the links to my unfinished work, half-baked projects, and list of ideas.
Share that list in a scheduled email to everyone I know to go out the next day. And tell everyone that the ideas, stories, work are all up for grabs. Take them, do what you want with them, and put them out into the world.
I don’t want to take them to the grave with me. Like Todd Henry says in one of my favorite books of all time, Die Empty.
“The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. In the graveyard are buried all of the unwritten novels, never-launched businesses, unreconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, ‘I’ll get around to that tomorrow.’ One day, however, their tomorrows ran out.” Todd Henry
Write handwritten notes to a handful of the people I love most. Tell them all why they’re amazing, address them carefully, and drop them in the mail. I don’t want to make a big deal of my exit. I’m also the same girl who leaves parties unannounced. Carry on friends.
Then, I’d go about my day as I had planned. Unfussy, no grand, dramatic emotional moments. I don’t want that. I will be a lot kinder to everyone, and way more patient. (This might be the biggest lesson of what I’ll take away from this assignment.)
If my son has hockey, we’ll go. If my daughter has gymnastics, we’ll do that. It will be a “normal” day. The kids will do their homework, and I’ll tidy my desk at the end of the day.
We’ll eat dinner together—and we’ll probably go out because who wants to cook dinner on their last day? It’ll definitely be full of gluten and cheese. And the most expensive bottle of wine on the list.
We’ll put the kids to bed, enjoy a few (more) glasses of wine and then crawl into bed. I’ll tuck the note for my husband under my pillow. First, with an apology, for having to find my cold bod like this. (Sorry, babe!) Then, practical things—like the schedule for the next day, and where the tooth fairy hides the teeth.
What would you do for your bonus round?