Saturday, June 22, 2013

If You Only Had a Year To Live

My friend, Terry, texted me a couple of weeks ago, insistent that I start watching "The Big C." She said she was obsessed, and therefore, I should be, too. This made perfect sense to me, and so, I immediately set out to find and become obsessed with a show I'd never heard of. I am nothing, if not obedient. It was a little tricky, because the show is not on Netflix. I could pay $2.99/episode to stream it, but I am WAY too cheap for that. At 13 episodes a season, and only 26 minute episodes, that was not going to fly with me. I decided to order the DVDs online at a bargain rate, and the day Season One arrived, I set to work. In case you are unfamiliar, Laura Linney knows in the pilot episode, that she has stage 4 melanoma. She will not survive it.

I watched three episodes within the first 24-hours, and felt like the A student. I watched one episode from Disk 3 before carelessly leaving it lying about, and it got stepped on and cracked right in half. Not to worry, I got right back on Amazon and ordered an even less expensive Season One again, and patiently awaited its arrival. I just finished the season Friday morning at the crack of dawn over my 5:30 AM before-Wil-wakes-up coffee, then texted Terry to tell her I'd finished. Shortly after I texted her she called, and I actually picked up the phone and we had a short, but satisfying dissection of the series thus far. "Do you think you could trick yourself into living as though you only had a year to live? Do you think it's possible?" she asked.

"You could pull off some facsimile," I said, "but you couldn't be reckless. You couldn't cash out your IRA."

"But could you act out?" she asked.

"Within reason," I said.

Acting out has never been something I've been prone to do, and even if I had only a year to live, it would not be top of my list of priorities.

"For me," I said, "it would be more of a question of priorities. What would I do with my time, my money, my energy? How would I spend it? If I knew I only had a year to live, would I spend another second with certain people?"

Terry and I have three seasons more to go and exponentially more conversations about this, to be sure, but I think in the end we might challenge each other to a year of living intentionally, mindfully,

Perhaps even a little teeny tiny bit recklessly.


Elizabeth said...

I am recklessly making my way through the ten million episodes of "Brothers and Sisters" -- perhaps this will be my next project.

kario said...

Ooh, I am inspired now. And I hate television for the most part, but I do love being able to binge on entire seasons full of engrossing shows when they suck me in. Like Parenthood.

I love hearing about your conversations with Terry.

Laurie Harper said...

I have tried to trick myself to thinking and planning this way -- the "only one year" thinking. It was better in the first weeks but not sustainable. Just like "if money were no object what would you be doing"...when money IS an object, I find it a steep obstacle to overcome. Would love to hear more from others if they are successful with this more immediate way of thinking and life planning. said...

If I knew I only had a year to live, would I spend another second with certain people?

No. I wouldn't. Good idea to start now.

Anonymous said...

I love that show and the character Laura Linney plays in particular. I work everyday with people who only have "some" time left. It is a constant reminder to me to make the most of right now. Sometimes it even works:)