What would you do if you had a lifetime to live?

One of the greatest blessings writing 6 Months to Live has given me is a sense of immediacy. I’m continually asking myself questions like:

  • “Am I being true to myself and living the life I want to?”
  • “If I really had 6 months to live, what would I do?”
  • Most importantly, “Am I living a life I’m proud of?”

Machu Picchu

There are times when I respond with an enthusiastic YES — absolutely. And of course, there are other moments when I respond with a resounding NO. Those who know me well, understand that I have big dreams and a passionate heart. A downside to that combination is that words like patience, timing, and trust have been my lifelong mosquitoes, constantly buzzing (and sometimes biting), reminding me that the beauty of life is not always in action but in trusting that life will provide when the time is right. The fact that my 29th birthday is just around the corner adds to my inner sense of urgency, as I approach the end of my 20’s.

Hard to believe we’re almost 29!

I was very upset yesterday because there are currently aspects of my life that I want to change and have been for what seems like an eternity. After I had wiped some tears away, my friend asked me, “What would you do if you had a lifetime to live?” I immediately laughed and felt a huge wave of relief. The first answer that came to me was, “I would have time.” Time to figure it out, time to make mistakes, time to “waste,” time to take life at my own pace.

The purpose of the 6-month question is to instantly connect people with their heartfelt desires. What do they most want in their lives? Are they currently aligned with that desire? My initial experiment to approach my life as if I had 6 months to live showed me all that was possible to accomplish in 6 months, and it also grounded me in what was most important. After nearly 3 years, it has become an exploration of life.

Always a tree to climb

As it says below: whether it was as a little girl climbing the tallest trees I could find or as a 23-year-old living in rural China, I have always been an explorer at heart. True exploration is not always about the most exciting destinations or action-packed life 24/7. It’s about exploring and understanding all aspects–the dark and the light, the noise and the silence, a time to act and a time to wait. It’s having the wisdom to know when a kick in the pants with the 6-month question is necessary or when having the patience to approach life as a unfolding lifetime of exploration is the most beneficial.

I’m grateful to write this blog. It continually encourages me to ask myself important questions and to actively seek what I most want to experience in life. I’m also glad my friend reminded me that God willing, I will live many 6-months. Perhaps those pesky mosquitoes called patience, timing, and trust are more like fireflies, lighting the way in the darkness, reminding us that every experience opens and shapes the heart if we let it.


Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Love the Jenny episode!

  • Ah, I remember this feeling well. I seemed to come to a very similar realization about the time I hit 30. For me it was realizing that just because my mom died young (before 30), didn’t mean that I would. And there was all this growth around planning and living for the long term as well as the short term. Here’s to the balance my dear! And here’s to great women living life!

    • Jacqueline says:

      What a beautiful comment, Erinina! Thank you. Both my parents lost their fathers when they were young (19 & 20), so they had their own versions and realizations of what you describe. I can only imagine. Cheers to you, to the balance, to great women living life, and to your mother!

  • l0ve0utl0ud says:

    You are right – sometimes we need to take our time in order to really appreciate the beautiful moments in our life! I’m very good at leading an action-packed life, but it is more of a challenge to slow down, look around and make the most of here and now.

    • Jacqueline says:

      I can completely relate! 🙂 I’m almost always doing something, so lately I’ve been making a conscious decision to be in the moment with whatever it is I’m doing. I was biking home last night, the same path I go down every day, and I realized, I absolutely love this path. For the first time in my two years living there, I really took the time to appreciate it and realized that I had taken for granted something that brings me home every day.

  • Rufina says:

    Lively and thoughtful post Jackie! Love the look and feel of your new blog! I wish I had had half of the self-awareness that you have “when I was your age”. I can’t believe I’m getting old enough to say that now! You are right on track with living a beautiful and intentional life.

  • Rufina says:

    Lovely and thoughtful post Jackie. I wish I had had half the sense of self-awareness that you do “when I was your age”! You are right on track for living a beautiful and intentional life. Love the look and feel of your new blog!

    • Jacqueline says:

      So glad to hear you like the new look, Rufina! If you have any suggestions for ways to make it more engaging and to build a community of people who inspire each other, would love to hear them.

  • CeCe says:

    Love the post. I’ve always said that if I died tomorrow I would be quite content with where my life has taken me (obviously I would still want to do so much more). I too hope you have many more 6 months, cause you are only going to do more amazing things.

  • I remember 29! I’m 40 next month and for the first time in my life I’ve begun to question my direction. That said having become a dad 7 months ago, I can’t imagine having just 6 months to live. There are so many places around the world to show my little girl!

    Love the blog, kind regards, Si

    • Jacqueline says:

      Congrats on becoming a new dad and on turning 40, Si! 🙂 Where’s one country you definitely want to take your daughter? Thanks so much for visiting — really glad to hear you love the blog, and look forward to checking yours out as well!

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