If you died today, are you proud of the life you’re living?
Rachel and Dave Hollis have a podcast called The Start Today Morning Show. For the most part, it’s light-hearted, aimless and simple entertainment. But on one day in November, Rachel asked a very serious question.
“If you were to die today, are you proud of the life you’re living?”
Her brother in law passed away unexpectedly so she was in the throes of heartache and introspective thinking on death and a life well-lived.
Having attended my first funeral at age 4 – and having attended one about every 4 years after for the rest of my life – I’m no stranger to death.
But even as familiar as death is to me – even as overly active and deep thinking as my mind is – I can honestly say that I’ve never asked myself that question. I’ve never had it asked of me before either. When I heard it for the first time, it made me pause and think.
Am I proud of the life I’m living now?
If today were my last day on Earth, could I die saying I take pride in how I lead each day of life and in my life overall? I sat back and really took in the question.
Within seconds, before I could even fully process it, I said out loud, YES!
My answer was YES.
Yes, I am proud of the life I’m living. I’m proud of how I live each day. I’m proud of who I am.
Without another passing second, the weight of my answer hit me full on. I couldn’t even believe it – my answer to such a profound question gets to be YES.
Me, the girl who always lived in fear and shame.
Me, the girl who still gets nervous speaking in front of an audience of two.
Me, the girl who still lowers her head in mild embarrassment when she shares what her blog is about.
I get to say that the answer to that question is YES and there isn’t a doubt in my mind about it.
I am so proud of who I am and how I live my life.
That might sound cocky to some people but, honestly, I don’t care what anyone thinks of my pride. It took a lot of work to get here.
I spent so much time – so many hours, months, even years – working through pain, confusion and old trauma. There was journaling and meditating, and workouts, and breakdowns, and therapy, and hard conversations, and heartbreak.
There was so much involved in pulling me out of my shame and getting me to a place of pride and confidence. I won’t discount that. I won’t sit back and pretend it’s not a big deal either. It IS a big deal.
I’m proud that every day is lived with intention.
I used to be the kind of person that wandered aimlessly. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life – I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my days. I called it being spontaneous but really, I was just lost. I had no direction, no clarity, and no sense of purpose. If you were to ask me to envision my life in 3, 5 and 10 years from now, I’d draw up a blank page.
Today, that’s a very different story. I live each day with intention.
Every morning, I wake up and decide how I want to feel and what I’ll do to achieve that. Even if my day is mostly comprised of doing the bare minimum, that’s done intentionally.
No, not every day is lived perfectly. But I’m proud that I take time to understand my goals, both big and small, and decide what I’ll do each day to help me inch toward success and achievement.
I’m proud even though there is a lot of fear present.
I used to be scared of everything. No, seriously!
Going fast in a car or on a bike? Slow down there speed racer, that’s too dangerous!
Deep water? I’ve seen Jaws, no thank you!
Scary movies? With my anxiety, ain’t nobody got time for that!
I swear everything scared me. And if I’m being really honest, that actually hasn’t changed much.
I still fear public speaking. My stomach still ties up in knots sharing my blogs. I still wonder if the path I’m embarking on is the right one for me.
But I’m not just fearful anymore, I’m brave now too.
Even in the face of uncertainty, even when the odds might be stacked up against me, even though I could fail, I move forward. I no longer let fear dictate my life. Instead of feeling fear and thinking of it as a flashing warning sign telling me to abort ship, I think of it as a beacon guiding me to do the next right thing that will lead to my evolution.
I’m proud that I found my voice.
That’s always been a big pain point for me: using my voice. I never thought what I had to say mattered so I kept quiet. At home, at school and in social settings, I kept the things I wanted to share tucked away because I wasn’t sure they had any value to the outside world.
I liked to make myself small so I didn’t take up space, and I stayed silent to make sure other people had ample time to speak up.
Not anymore. Now, I speak up and share.
I share more often than I ever have before. I share about more than I ever thought I would. I might even share more than people would like. But I stopped caring so much about what other people think and started listening to myself. I put out what my heart feels called to open up about. I live life out loud even when it’s messy and embarrassing. Why? Because I feel like what I have to say matters now. I feel like we all have messages that someone else somewhere needs to hear and I don’t want to keep mine in.
I never let what I have to say go unsaid either. Even when it puts me in an extra vulnerable spot, when I feel called to share my thoughts or feelings, I do it.
This whole “using my voice” thing might not seem like a lot to some people, but to me, opening up, finding my voice and using it is huge.
Again, not every day is perfectly lived.
There are some good days. There are also some great days. There are even some really shitty days too. But even on those really shitty days, I still feel an immense amount of pride in how I show up in life. I either get up and get to what needs to be done, or I stay down because I know I need that for a while longer. Either way, I listen to myself and that’s something that I never did before.
So, yes, maybe having a very vocal Yes to Rachel’s question is too prideful, but I don’t think so. To me, it’s a goddamn miracle.
It’s a miracle to me that I get to wake up and pat myself on the back before I’ve even gotten the day started. It’s a miracle that I close my eyes at night feeling peace in myself and all that transpired over the last 15 or so hours. I show up for life every single day in a way I feel is right for me. For that, I am proud.
What about you?
If you asked yourself that same question, what would your answer be?
Is your answer a loud and proud YES too? If so, that’s amazing! How can you celebrate that? Take some time to acknowledge yourself and find some way to celebrate that small miracle. Chances are, your answer wasn’t always yes.
Are you unsure of your answer? Or do you know that the answer is No? If that’s the case for you, I’m sorry. I know what that’s like. I promise you, it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can change your answer but you’ll need to think deeply about what needs to happen in order to cause that change. What can you do right here and now to make yourself proud? What can you do each day to bring you closer to your own Yes?
Think on it, then work toward it. You’ll find pride in the progress.