I watched Everything is Copy, the documentary about Nora Ephron’s life and I can spend days quoting her charm and wit, but a line in the movie has stuck with me: “Eat your last meal when you’re alive.” She means it’s rare to know you’re eating your last meal. In jail, being executed is one of the few ways you can know it’s your last meal. Otherwise, if you’re old or sick, at the end you’re not eating at all and you could have had your last meal months ago without knowing it was your last.
Do I eat my last meal every day just in case? How do you find a happy medium where you can feel like you’ve sucked the living quota out of life while not taking to the reckless extreme? If my last meal is a triple steak, butter, bacon, and cheese sandwich with eight scoops of ice cream; I couldn’t possibly eat that every night and maintain a healthy diet.
The quote resonated with me because I thought back to when I was younger, I always instructed my younger sister to eat her dessert first in case she choked in the middle of her meal and couldn’t get to the best part. [My morbid thoughts started firmly in fourth grade; is that normal?]
There is a fine line between being able to absorb as much joy out of every day and living each day as if it’s your last. It’s fun to imagine engaging in reckless behavior while balancing logic with the hope that you’ll make it another day. For me living life without thinking about consequences is an impossibility. Mortality eliminates repercussion and leaves a blinking NOW in its place. Society’s rhetoric reminds us to “live in the now” and “be here now” and tattoo a “NOW” on our wrist because we have become too anxious focusing on the future.
I was raised to believe too much of anything is no good. Overdosing on pleasure never leads to a happy ending (think heroin, steak, booze, fucking without a condom), the “live-fast, die young biographies” warn. The trick is to fill the days with enough happiness, leaving no room for regret. Until they develop a magic formula that can create the perfect balance I will have to savor the minutes and spare the butter.
8 thoughts on ““Filling Up My Days with Joy” Club”
Savor the moments and eat better butter! (Grassfed butter by Kerrygold is my butter)
My father often said that most folks are so busy they forget to live. Sunday was always our day off — church, picnics or dinner with guests, card games, etc.
Ironically I was using a metaphor. I actually HATE butter and have been a vegetarian for 24 years! I love ice cream but the actual taste of any kind of butter grosses me out. (I know, don’t “yuck my yum.”) I don’t like French cooking because of it!
I try to live as much every day as possible but have found that the pressure to live because I’m running out of time (as we all are) gives me anxiety! It’s a catch 22; I’m too pressured to be happy!
Ahhhh, I see. What do you put on your baked potatoes? I don’t think I could live without butter on my sweet potato or in my coffee! (I drink bulletproof coffee everyday). It actually helped me lose weight! I’m 4’9″ and down to about 100lbs. Congrats on finding your joy though, that’s fabulous!
I started getting all my social and general anxiety in fourth grade. I guess that’s a common onset age?
Not sure why it hits then. In this year of introspection I’ve been trying to pinpoint various triggers but it seems that as far back as I look I’ve had it.
Me neither. As a kindergartener I was loud and bubbly and outgoing and, ahem, once bullied a classmate into sharing part of their lunch. But then by 4th grade I always chose having my nose in a book over playing with the other kids during recess.