I was 17 when I was standing at the open grave on an ice cold December day. My tears streaming down felt warm on my cheeks. I saw my friend whispering «I love you» and dropping a rose on the coffin. It hit me so hard again and again: This game of life is not forever. It can end in a second. Patrick was killed by an avalanche in the Swiss mountains. Four people of a group of ten died. Six families were celebrating life, four families and friends experienced the brutal fact that this life-game is not forever. You have no guarantee for any day or year… any moment could be your last. It’s hard to learn that at seventeen years old, but I guess it doesn't depend on age. The first time you are totally aware of this fact… it's a punch in your face.
Eleven years followed with too many funerals of friends my age. A motorbike-accident, another avalanche, a suicide - and then the best friend of my sister died, at the age of twenty-five, because of a sudden heart attack. Oh wow… no dangerous sport involved, no risky ski-tour, no overlooked speed limit. She was at home. Her boyfriend, who was a med-school student, did all he could to bring her back… but she was gone.
THIS was the funeral I decided to no longer live by any compromises. From that day on I decided I would live my life on my own terms.
Today, I no longer do things I don’t like. I don’t do things to please others. If I do anything or say anything or go anywhere, I do it because I WANT TO! This is simple, isn’t it? Maybe you already live by this principle? I was already doing a good job at it back then - remember, my wakeup call came at seventeen - but at that moment, I really got into the game of life. I could be dead tomorrow, so TODAY I live life to the fullest. I enjoy my day! I’m as kind as I can be to everybody I meet. I do what I want. I spend time with people I love. I treasure the people I love. I go to places which I want to see. I take care of my body. I’m ALL IN.
I really believe that we don’t need a wakeup call like an illness, a catastrophe, an accident, a death or a near-death experience to be «all in», though that does help to see the urgency of this topic.
Do you know the book of Bronnie Ware «The Top Five Regrets of The Dying? She talked to so many men and women, who were dying in the hospice she was working at. I highly recommend reading this book! It's so touching to read all these stories of different destinies... in the end, these were the number 5 regrets of the dying:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
What goes through your mind, when you read these five sentences?
I immediately have questions for you (and me) in my head:
1. Do you like your job? Do you do something you love? Do you do, what you do only to satisfy your partner, your parents, your...?
2. How do you balance work and fun? Is work already fun? Do you have time for yourself? Are you taking care of your dreams and wishes outside of your work?
3. What if you would say I love you more often? Tell people the compliments rushing through your thoughts, but you're not saying them? How about saying NO when you mean no and YES when you mean yes? What if you would cry and let the sadness out, when you are sad and be fully totally happy and skipping and dancing when you are happy?
4. Who is super important in your life? Who are your friends? Your most important persons? When did you see them the last time (even on screen) when did you text them, wrote a card, sent a present, went out for a beer, spent some quality time together? What would be absolutely wonderful to do right now for one of your closest ones?
5. How much JOY do you allow yourself to feel? How much happiness do you let into your life? Is life fun? Easy? What could you do to go and do happy, joyful, silly, fun stuff for yourself and with your friends and family? YESSSS! That's so important!!
I don't write down all these questions to call you out. I'm far away from perfect! These questions are the wakeup call we can handle with a smile, we can change things immediately. You and I can text and call a friend TODAY. You and I can think of our dreams again and again and FOCUS on them more, day in and day out and achieve them in big leaps or baby steps!
Let's be aware that this life could be over any second. Let's be aware of this, BUT aim for becoming an old wise person, who loves his-her-their life so so so much! Let's enjoy it every day and if life sucks, we are in the captains seat to CHANGE something… again - big or small!
We've got this!! If you want to go all in on these journaling prompts, write all your answers down. Imagine your funeral and what they shall talk about you, how you were, what you did, what a legacy you are leaving behind... If you are like me, not in love with funerals at all, you can imagine yourself as a really old person (how old would that be for you? 96? 105? 80?) super fit and healthy on your porch, looking out on your beautiful surrounding and thinking about your life! What did you do? What was important to you... you get the point.
If you want to tackle your new joyful life without having regrets in the end RIGHT NOW, join the Joy Academy! We cover all the areas of your life and you think through everything: What do I really want? How do I want to feel - think - be on the stage called life? All the techniques and tools I collected over the last 25 years are ready for you to use, test and implement into your life. Of course only the ones, you love! The goal: You feel confident, powerful, invincible, proud, self-determined and happy! Do you find that totally extreme? Way over the top? Not me! You remember… we don't have any guarantee for another day. Let's start TODAY doing what we want to do, with a singing heart and a smile on your face! You can decide to walk through your life with a different attitude RIGHT NOW. If you have any questions about the Joy Academy, send me your concerns.
Maybe you think: Wait, wait, wait, I don't know you well enough to book a whole year of Joy-Magic with you, Swiss Lady. : ) Fair enough! Sign up for the free 21-day-joy-challenge, where I inspire you with lots of different topics of the Joy Academy in little bites. After that, you’ll see your big vision crystal clear, so that you can implement it in your life, without any regrets in the end… which is hopefully many decades from now.
The Joyometer is another simple tool to use for better feelings, a focus on the good things, for more gratitude, for JOY. Fill it out for yourself, you can download it HERE.
My Joyometer here is live after awesome days in the Swiss mountains. The video this week is recorded, before I went to the mountain cabin, so no Joyometer-talk in there. Noo problem, the important thing is that YOU fill it out for you anyway.