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What would you do if you only had a year to live

What would you do, being a creative or an intellectual, and you discovered that you only had one year to live? Could you honestly say that you are living the way you want to live—right here, right now? Are you living deep, instead of fast? Are you creating to your fullest potential, or are you getting sidetracked?

Even if we are not (necessarily) going to die in a year, it can still bring so much clarity to our vocation. What would you do if you only had a year to do it? Would you have to confess that you have joined the ranks of Americans who live for Friday night? Do you dread Mondays because they are the beginning of another long, perhaps tedious, perhaps uninteresting and monotonous work week—even if it’s writing or painting in your studio? Are you fatigued, or even depressed because of creative dead ends?

Sometimes we have no passion for our art, our work, whatever it is. It takes more out of us than it gives in return. And so the question arises: If you only had one year to live, would you keep creating the kind of film, book, song, sports or acrylic abstracts that you’ve always been working on? Or would you innovate a new frontier of personal creativity?

Most of the time, the responsible and safe answer is to continue with what is familiar. What would you do if you could step out and risk a new artistic path? Would you travel to exotic islands or tour Europe for research? Would you—finally, after all these years of corporate work—allow yourself to fall in love and write new poetry? Would you write that book you have been too afraid to write? Would you spend more time with your family? Or maybe even making amends with all of the people you have hurt in the past? Or maybe you wouldn’t change a thing. You would simply savor each day and accept the gifts this life has given you.

Regardless of if we should actually learn that your time on earth is too be cut short, we can learn so much about ourselves by asking the question: “What if?” In the end, it just might help us to become more fully alive. We might need to rise a little bit earlier to go for a walk while everyone else is still yawning and stretching. We might need to read more books while we ride the bus to our studios, universities, offices and writing nooks. Or we might simply need to pick up cooking, or start dating again, or start exercising.

Whatever the solution, a great way to discover how to wake up and become more fully human is to ask yourself what you would do if you could. So, what would you do if you knew you were going to die in one year?

Sherri Rosen & Tyler Blanski, Sherri Rosen Publicity, NYC

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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 18th, 2011 at 3:29 pm and is filed under Clients, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “What would you do if you only had a year to live”

  1. Chris Donnelly Says:

    Oooooh. Great post and intriguing question. I would keep creating (check) and I would keep designing (check) – but I am sure I would narrow my focus- a LOT. I would look for opportunities to just create pieces that communicate the things I am passionate about, and I would spend more time painting. I look for great clients and great opportunities, but that is never quite the same as throwing caution to the wind and just creating for the sake of creating. (Doesn’t that sound so lovely? I would love to just “create” freely.) Someday I hope to take this hiatus from my working life and enjoy a year of creation for creation’s sake. I am absolutely convinced that I would become better at my craft because of it. Thanks for the question… great post.

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