Cherishing the Last Time

When I was in college, I got the call my Uncle passed away from a heart condition. Our world shattered. He was a healthy human being, living life to his fullest while retired and living in South Carolina.

How can things happen like this? Why so supervene?

2021, I got a text message from my mom.

“Nick, your aunt has COVID-19. She’s going to the hospital because her oxygen is low.” 2 weeks later: “Nick, she didn’t make it. She’s in a better place now.”

You mourn, you cry, but then something hits you.

Your life is finite. Everything has a last time. Would it be more meaningful to you if you knew it was your last time? How would you react differently?

Would you slow down and enjoy the moment?

Would you put your phone down and focus?

Make it a point in your life to slow down. There is no point in rushing. Consistent rushing is turtles all the way down. The American dream is to stay rushing. Always in a hurry, always late. Get to point A, check your phone a few times, and leave to point B.

When I was in Greece last summer, this was one of the biggest takeaways.

They slowed down. They embraced the moment. They know we are only on this spinning rock for a finite time, and that time shortens every day. They aren’t rushing to the next thing they need to do. We would ask for our check at a restaurant, we would wait 15 minutes, and they would bring us complimentary dessert.

We still didn’t get our check yet. They weren’t so busy they couldn’t, they have a cultural difference of enjoying the moment.

Enjoying the moment is something we don’t do anymore.

Our phones are vibrating.

We’re taking pictures we’ll never look at.

Someone’s calling us.

Our boss is sending us a Saturday email about something that can wait until Monday.

None of it matters.

Be the guy who takes in the moment, instead of recording it to relive it later. There might not be a later.

Guy living in the last time principle.

The Last Time Principle can be applied to anything in life.

  • Spending time with your parents
  • Going on a bike ride
  • Hiking a mountain
  • Consoling your child if they are crying

I’ve practiced the Last Principle approach over the past few weeks. The impact on my life is profound. Being mindful at all times is hard. Focus on reminding yourself right before starting something. I reminded myself “this could be my last cycling race ever. Go out there and have some fun”.

The result?

I finished on the podium and got bumped up to the next category because I was too fast. It could be a coincidence, but at least I enjoyed my final ride in the D category. That was my last time there.

This can be applied to your relationships with people too.

When dealing with your spouse, you always hear the words “don’t go to sleep mad at each other”. And it’s true. Your last disagreement could be the last. You don’t want that. Bring love and share love after the disagreement. There’s a good chance it was trivial and always will be.

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think. Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink. The years go by, as quickly as you wink. Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think

— Guy Lombardo, “It’s Later Than You Think”

Morgan Housel wrote a soul-shaking piece on a skiing trip gone wrong with two of his friends. They, unfortunately, didn’t make it.

It was never imagined this would be the last time they would ski together. They thought skiing days were never-ending. Morgan didn’t know when he left to get the car, he would never see them again.

”Live each day as though it were your last, without turmoil, without listlessness and without pretense.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Struggle and happiness are both finite.

When you are struggling, remember there is a last time to everything.

When you are happy, remember there is a last time to everything.

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