Friday, June 17, 2022

Love Letters to My Life #48: What if this were the last time ...

(We know the day we were born, but most of us do not know the day we will die. This love letter to my life is written on the day I've designated as my death day: the 17th of every month, and reminds me to be grateful for my joy-filled life.

- Joyce Wycoff)

One day … or maybe night … your mom or your dad was holding you and put you down. You didn’t know it then … they didn’t know it then … but that was the last time they held you in their arms and then put you down to walk on your own.

In a podcast with Tim Ferriss (#599), Sam Harris reminds us that everything has a last time. This week, I walked down to the beach at the end of my street. When I walked away, I didn’t think about the possibility that it was the last time I would see that beautiful Pacific Ocean. Turns out, it wasn’t. I saw it the next day and the day after that. If I’m lucky, I might see it a thousand times more.

However, knowing that there will come a last time for everything, makes each time, each moment more precious. If you could go through your day embracing each moment as possibly the last time you will have that experience ... whether it's ice cream or the voice of a loved one or the feel of words flowing from your brain onto a keyboard or simply sitting in your favorite chair gazing out the window ... you might not make it through the day without weeping for the joy of it all … or feeling the overwhelming grief of knowing that this moment will never happen again.

I wonder if this is the underlying reason I take photographs? Each one could represent the last time … actually the only time … that particular light will fall on that particular leaf, casting that particular shadow at that particular angle. Taking photos slows me down, engages my attention, allows me to examine the momentary beauty of a particular ordinary thing in all its luminous glory.

Everything ends.
There will always be a last time. 
Knowing that is a powerful reminder to appreciate now.

For the coming month, I want to take this “last time” thought to a deeper level and truly look at my life and the world around me from the perspective of:

“What if this were the last time 

I ever saw or experienced this?”


  1. What a beautiful question to invite mindfulness and intentionality.

    1. Thanks, Becky ... it has given me pause several times in the past couple of days.

  2. Very Cool thought!

  3. Joyce, this is so well-thought-out and expressed. To focus on the current joy elevates us. Thank you.