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Wishing life away...What would happen if we really did live everyday as if it could be our last?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jennifer Jowles BSc (hons) Psych, Dip. Couns, Registered MBACP
13th October, 20160 Comments
This ‘article’ is just a little something I wrote last year after a family bereavement. During these times, we ask ourselves, our God, the universe, many many questions. These are just some of my thoughts from that time - it was just for myself and I thought I would practice what I preach and try writing down my thoughts and questions, as a way of somewhat clearing them from my mind. It helped to get my thoughts out on paper (or screen) however, I still don’t know the answers to my questions – if anyone does I would love to hear them...There may even end up being a ‘part two’!
Many of us, including myself, float along in life like it will last for ever...We make friends, fall in love, achieve our goals and those 24 hours in each day go by, in what sometimes feels like a minute, and other days the minutes seem like they are lasting a week. We wish away these days...Counting down to the weekend, holidays and special events and that’s just the way it is.
Two weeks ago a member of my family lost her husband in a tragic accident - the day after a family wedding. She lives in America with the rest of my family and my mum was flying over for the wedding. I have no doubt that there was great anticipation and excitement that week – counting down the days until my mum’s arrival (a long wait after five years) and counting down the days until the wedding. Those days soon passed in the blink of an eye. The next day, for reasons unknown, her life was turned upside down, her heart broken in to pieces...Those last days that went by for much of my excited family so slowly, yet in hindsight so quickly, were now so precious.
This happens to people every day. At first we tend to realise how precious time is and everyone vows to not take for granted those around us, to cherish each and every second of the day and to never wish away those days again. But how long does this last? From what I’ve seen in my 10,220 days, this feeling and mindset does not last for long. Don’t get me wrong, there are people out there who embrace every day for what it is in their own way. However, I imagine, it will still never seem enough when they are faced with a personal trauma.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot these last couple of weeks. Is it a survival method of the human race, to quickly return back to a life taken for granted? What would happen if we really did live everyday as if it could be our last? Would this have a positive or negative effect on our existence?
I keep comparing this thought to the trauma of childbirth. No matter how beautiful a thing it may be, (in hindsight) it is still very traumatic on the mind and body of the woman (I imagine). If a woman could truly remember the pain she went through, would she be able to go through it a second, third or fourth time? The mind forgets in order to keep the human race going.
In fear of now rambling on...Take the latest terrorist attack in Tunisia which resulted in the deaths of 38 innocent people, on holiday – enjoying life. There is now a fear and a reluctance to visit Tunisia, but we will soon learn to forget the extent of that trauma – it will forever be in our hearts and minds – but in time, people will start going back and visiting Tunisia – as they did New York after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and as they did in London after 7/7.
So...If we truly lived each day as if it really could be our last, then this would constantly be in the forefront of our minds and we would be living under a ‘cloud of death’ – would that not have a disabling counter effect? I don’t know...All I do know, is that life has to go on and we have to do everything we can to live it, with as little regret as possible
Tell those who you are close to you love them and cherish the time you spend together...You never know when those days that you were wishing away, are those very days that you wish time stood still and those minutes seemed like weeks...
A few months after I wrote this, we experienced another sudden and great loss is in our family. Everyone that could, stood in that hospital room on that horrible Saturday afternoon, shocked and in disbelief that our lives and family were about to change forever. Afterwards, everyone was realising how short life is and there was a sense of recognition of how important our family was to us.
For a few short weeks, more effort was made to keep in touch and in our own, very subtle way, make sure those important to us knew it. Again, this didn’t last long and our family went back its usual dynamic, maybe the odd phone call or text here and there and back to our lives. Sometimes, from my perspective, it seems like a lesson was never truly learned, it was just acknowledged for a brief moment until all our mental barriers went back up and life began to move us on. Again, this is just the way it is and we are back to counting down the days to the weekend, our next holiday, Christmas - essentially wishing life away.
About the author
Jennifer is a fully qualified and registered person-centred counsellor with experience in a variety of issues and specialising in grief and bereavement. She is passionate that everyone has the ability to change how past experiences/emotions affect their present behaviour and reach their full potential as an individual through personal awareness.
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