‘If I Had Six Months to Live’: Taking Inventory of Your Life

flame

In one week, I attended two funerals of people who had a big influence on my life. As the veil between heaven and earth gets closer with age and time, I noticed that at these funerals, among the weeping was silence. The reverence is part of our tradition. People also come to celebrate the lives of those they have lost.

The brevity of this article is not for a lack of reverence but of respect to the time we spend here with our loved ones. We are all headed in the direction of the transition from this life into whatever your belief system tells you in next, or not. I have the utmost respect, not only for the difference in the way people grieve, but for how they believe.

But hopefully and again, respectfully, I believe there is a common positive thread that can be gained through loss. It is when we experience a loss, we re-examine and take inventory of our own lives.

There is a therapy question that we in the counseling profession are taught to ask others in decision making. That question is, “If you had only six months to live, what would you do with it?” It’s a tough question but a very helpful one. It begins with more questions. Some might be:

  1. Am I living a life that is true to who I want to be?
  2. Are there things I can change?
  3. Are there things I should accept?
  4. What did I learn from my mistakes?
  5. What is my greatest strength/weakness. (Hint: They are often the same.)
  6. What have I left unsaid or undone? What can I do to fix that?
  7. What legacy do I want to leave?

In the question, the goal answer in therapy is, “Don’t wait until you only have six months to live. Do these things now.”

There is a time for grieving and to rest in the loss and heal. One of the ways to expedite that healing and find relief in your pain, is to find your purpose for your life. Ask yourself your own questions. Listen to your spirit for the answers. They will come to you. You can go after the pursuits you so deeply desire. Even if it seems a long, lost helpless dream such as an athletic or career only a young person can have, you can help yourself by helping a young person to attain what you think you have lost. If you still have your life, you have so much to gain by taking inventory and giving it your all with the time you have left.

 

Mary Joye

More Articles Written by Mary

For the past ten years I have been a private practice Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I'm a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and a Florida Supreme Court Family Mediator. Grief resilience and trauma resolution is a large part of my practice. I was raised on the beach in Florida. My father was a psychiatrist and I worked in his office in my youth. He wanted me to follow in his footsteps. Instead, I chose to become a theatrical design major instead and graduated from the University of Florida in 1979. My first job out of college, KISS employed me as a make-up and wardrobe assistant for three years. It was quite an experience and a good background to study communications. Later in Nashville, I began songwriting, acting and performing professionally and am a member of BMI, ASCAP and a former member of the Country Music Association, Screen Actors Guild and The American Federation of Musicians. That career grew into a 20-year music ministry. I also wrote ad copy for XM radio, Texaco, The Filmhouse and currently write for two publications in Winter Haven, Florida, where I returned to take care of my ill and now deceased parents. I earned an MA in Counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2000. (Photo by Daniel DeCastro)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *