The news was horribly sad: The mother of my daughter’s best friend was terminally ill and in hospice care. She and her husband had retired two years ago and relocated to a community nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a new beginning with different friends and adventures awaiting; now, she has just a few weeks to live.

My daughter is frightened. Two of her closest friends will now be motherless. I cannot assure her that this won’t happen to her; it will, eventually. What I can do is encourage her to live her life fully, with as few regrets as possible.

It’s a new year full of possibilities. Yet none of us truly knows what the year has in store for us. We can follow the healthiest of life’s guidelines, but that will not necessarily protect us from harm.

The adage is to live your life as if each day were your last. That is not only tough to do, for along with it comes too much pressure. So what can we do to feel as if we are living our lives richly and fully?

  1. For starters, be cognizant of what is important to you. Ask yourself, “What do I value, and am I living my life in a way that respects those principles?” If not, you have an opportunity to identify and establish ways to honor your values and make your life more meaningful.
  2. Be present in your life. Tune out all distractions to focus on the book you are reading, conversations with family and friends, physical movement, the outdoors, and just to enjoy your environment.
  3. Pay attention to technology. It makes our lives easier and gives us greater access to connect with information and people, but it monopolizes our precious time and can infringe on our relationships. Feel free to turn it off regularly.
  4. Lastly, set aside time each day for play. We define play as activities that you enjoy so much that you lose track of time. Even a half hour of daily play goes a long way in enhancing your pleasure and wellbeing.  


Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.

Image courtesy of the author

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