Spring is a time of regeneration, rebirth and, for best-selling author Kerry Egan, it's a great time of year to take a fresh approach to life. The On Living writer, whose day job is as a hospice care chaplain, says she’s learned through her work that we should all try to live like we’re dying.
Here are three reasons why Egan says we should live life to the fullest—all lessons learned from spending countless hours with people in their last days:
1. Be kind because in life there are no rewinds. Egan says the terminally ill often regret not being kind enough to others and not being kind enough to themselves. “And so kindness is recognizing that other people are struggling and you are struggling too, and that’s what kindness is—making a space for that struggle.”
Her advice to those who want to practice being more kind: “If there’s someone you love and they seem to be struggling, reach out and listen to them,” she says. “We have an ability to help each other through those times.”
2. Make peace in your relationships now, or move on. “You can decide,” says Egan. So tell that person who’ve you’ve been holding back on that you love him, or her. Hug your sister, hi-five your brother and tell your children how proud you are of how they’ve turned out, thus far. It’s not too early, but it can be too late.
Egan says some or her hospice patients ask her to tell their loved ones for them, out of fear of rejection or otherwise, but she encourages them to do the work themselves. “Don’t be afraid,” says Egan.
3. Start your bucket list today. Egan says people become aware of how quickly time passes when they don’t have much of it left.
“One of the things I hear from people all the time, even when they’re like 95, is ‘You know, I just thought I had more time,'” says Egan. “You need to live the life you feel called to now, because it’s not going to get easier.”
Even if you’re not terminally ill, she says it's important to be cognizant of the fact that tomorrow and even the next two hours are not guaranteed.