We are told to live each day as if it’s our last. Carpe Diem. Or as the kids say, YOLO, “you only live once.” But of course we can’t really do that. We have to think about college and careers and mortgages and what’s for dinner tomorrow. If it were really my last day on earth, I would quit working this second, take my kids out of school, blow all my money on an awesome day with my family–fancy dinner, water park, hotel suite, velcro-suit bungee jumping with martinis and juice boxes. Perhaps living each day as if it is our last is too short a time period to consider. What if we knew we only had a few decades or a few years left? (Because that’s all we really have.) What if we only had one year left to live? How would we live our last year?
This is a contemplation activity I do with my older students called My Last Year. It’s a short meditation meant to help young people (and old people, of course), discern what really matters to them, what parts of life are worth putting their energy into.
My Last Year is a contemplative walk through twelve areas of your life, one area for each month, and a chance to consider how those parts of your life might be different if it were your last year on earth. How would you handle grudges, dreams, enemies, friends, big and small problems, if it were your last year? What would really matter? When I do this activity with young people, they often find at least one area in their life worth rethinking. I always participate with them, and each time I do, I get a little closer to living the kind of life that I really want to live.
I’ve created both a short contemplation video and a printable activity resource (My Last Year Reflection by Tall Trees Grow Deep). Let me know what remarkable things your students and children come up with. And remember to live your life as if it’s your last, because it is.
Tall Trees Grow Deep is devoted to helping young (and old) people slow down, think deep, and contemplate their world in order to live AWEsomer lives. Subscribe to get articles sent to your email (and we’ll throw in a sample e-book of some of our contemplation and deep-thinking activities for young people). Or check out some of our resources, including lots of free, printable activities, great for home or school.