New Day Reflections Shujon “Shujon, say this to yourself every night and believe it. ‘I am going to die.

My life is finite.’ Live accordingly. Everyone you care about is also going to die. Their lives are also finite. Believe it and live and act accordingly. Be accountable for all your actions. As you own all your actions, you will soon learn to be accountable for all your thoughts.” My friend, my guru, spoke these words to me a few nights ago; his eyes sparkling, recounting a life lived without regret; a life in a constant state of evolution, learning from his actions and from the experiences of others. These words arose out of a thread in our conversation which started with the simple question he posed to us: “why do we not do the things that we know we should, which are good for us.” As we jammed through the night, we spoke of the many times we procrastinated, where we thought we could parlay making the right choices in the present time and going through whatever temporary discomfort such choice may bring, with the promise of doing the right thing at a future date. I thought of all the times I told myself I will do something good, make the right choice, work less and spend more time with my family, tomorrow, the next year, when I have reached a certain age, after I have reached a certain marker. I began to understand that even though that I have witnessed endings throughout my life, seen death, regretted not spending more time or shown more love to a loved one who has passed on, I have never truly believed the finiteness of my life or the lives of the ones whom I love. Isn’t it because of this, a false sense of immortality, of life infinite, that we waste our precious moments on this earth by dwelling on negative thoughts, surrendering to self-pity, resentments, anger; isn’t it because we truly do not believe that our time on this earth is limited, is a fixed number which is reduced by one everyday we live making the wrong choice, every day where we do not forgive, do not let go; everyday where we miss an opportunity to spend more time with a loved one? Last week a friend of mine asked me why I dwell so much on the personal in my column, why I do not write more about hard hitting topics, about the issues that permeate the bigger world around me. I considered my friend’s comment; after all, for most of my adult life I have thought, written and argued about the macro issues and solutions which ails society at large. I asked myself why I do not feel the need to engage in such debate anymore. The answer lies partly in the fact that there are many others who fill that space; mostly in the fact that my experiences have taught me that through the personal, by the act of being a better human being, by being happier, more giving, one can impact the world around him. That is why, dear reader, I am writing to you today about death; mine, yours and of those around us. I am writing to you today, dear reader, about measuring all our actions, watering all our relationships with the thought, the belief, that we have a fixed number of days on this earth; that a missed opportunity to do the right thing may truly be missed; that we may not have the chance to amend an unjust act, take back a word spoken in anger or repair a broken commitment; that we may not have tomorrow, next year, until retirement, until the kids are grown, until our bank balance hits a certain amount, to spend time with our elderly parents, be there for our siblings, or do the myriad of things that we need to do now and are saying we are going to do when we hit that certain marker. Why waste another day, a day that we will not get back, a day that will be a day less from our total, on not doing the right thing? Lets do it, lets make the right choices now, not push it off until another day. Is there a phone call that you need to make, that you have been putting off for next weekend? A visit? An amend? Pick up the phone, jump in the car, wipe the slate clean. Lets all take a baby step towards living in today, being accountable for all our actions and making the most of our mortality. It is a wonderful way to live, to keep death in mind when

we make our choices. To quote my friend, “I feel so Alive knowing that I will die someday.” I wish to end my column this week by wishing god speed to my friend Rishi in his new life; to salute the strength of his character, as I have seen him react the same way, with a smile and a laugh, to problems thrown in his way; and to thank him and his loving family for opening their hearts and their home to so many of us.

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