Are you living like you are dying?

living like you are dying

In the past two weeks I’ve heard from a fellow writer who lost one of her dear friends who was a wife and mother of two teens, a co-worker from a previous job whose dad passed away, and a recent acquaintance whose son succumbed to an illness.

The grief is deep in those families, and I pray the regrets are few.


Losses such as these may cause you to pause as I did and consider the state of your life.

As my eyes swept over the panorama of where my husband and I have been and are now, I couldn’t help but think of Tim McGraw’s poignant ballad Live Like You Were Dying. 

If you are not familiar with the song, it tells an inspiring tale of a man’s response to his terminal medical diagnosis.

The award winning writers behind the lyrics, Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols, shared the seeds of the song in an interview.

They had been hearing from friends about health scares large and small, real and faulty, and how the bad news stopped people in their tracks.

The duo began to think “What a cool concept (it would be) to respond to those circumstances not in a ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m going to get busy dying, but I’m going to get busy living.'”

Hence the birth of the song and an encouraging message of love, gratitude and forgiveness that can blossom from the rockiest soil.


The beauty of that message is this:

You don’t have to experience a health scare to be the kind of parent, spouse, or friend you always hoped you’d be, to live the life you had dreamed.

You can do that right now, because every moment can be a do-over, an opportunity to truly forgive, choose joy, be grateful, intentionally prioritize the important over the urgent.

It doesn’t mean you walk away from your family or responsibilities to find what’s been missing.

Instead, you move toward the people in your life, your hands and heart open, to love deeper, speak  sweeter, and give the forgiveness you’ve been denying, living like you are dying.

As Leo Babuata wrote: 

While you might not have only 6 months to live, I’m here to break the news to you: you really do only have a short time to live. Whether that’s 6 months, 6 years or 60 … it’s but the blink of an eye.

The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.


Question: What is one thing you would do if you were living like you are dying?

I’m hoping you are encouraged by Tim McGraw’s video below of Living Like You Are Dying. Lyrics are here.

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  1. I do think this is one of my favorite posts. I love Tim McGraw’s song. It does have a great message and you brought out some great thoughts to think about. I also loved the quote. I do believe that life is a gift and we should do those things that bring us joy.
    Blessings for this one~
    Living Waters by LeAnn recently posted…Baby Haven’s Story of Adoption, Temple Sealing, Name and Blessing~My Profile

    • I can tell from your writing that you walk the talk, LeAnn. The love that flows from your words about your family is abundant and joyful!

  2. Why is it that we put off what matters most? No one wants to think about dying, but how sad it is when people pass away with critical matters and earthly and spiritual relationships left unattended. Thanks for the reminder, Kim, to live intentionally every day!
    Erin Casey recently posted…Your Story Isn’t about YouMy Profile

    • Well put, Erin! I agree this is certainly a difficult and uncomfortable subject, but is so important. I can’t count the number of sad stories I’ve heard of people having regrets from not mending broken relationships before it’s too late. You are most welcome, and thanks for stopping by from across the ocean! 😉

  3. What a powerful reminder. Life is short and it is never too late to live fully. Most younger people think live is over after turning 30. I am always reminded of my dad who’s company got rid of all the “near-to-retirement-age” people in the company so at 62 he was suddenly retired. Now my dad did not pass away until he was 82. In between he got a job doing something he loved all the way up until the day he passed away. He found great joy in what he did in those latter years even more so than prior years. He was fulfilled. He could have chosen to bemoan his forced retirement, sit around and then die. He chose to go out and keep living to the fullest. Living is for the breathing and age has nothing to do with it. LOVED this post.
    nan recently posted…Think on These ThingsMy Profile

  4. What an inspiring story about your dad, Nan! He could have easily descended into bitterness, but chose joy instead. Wow! Love what you said here: Living is for the breathing and age has nothing to do with it. Amen to that!! I am so appreciative of the depth you add to the conversation. Thanks!

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