Why ‘Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last’ Is Terrible Advice

'Live each day as if it were your last' is bad advice. Here's what to do instead (no more endless swan song):

We’ve all heard the saying, “Live each day as if it were your last.” Here’s why that’s terrible advice, and what you should be doing instead.


'Live each day as if it were your last' is bad advice. Here's what to do instead (no more endless swan song):

Maybe it’s just me, but if I knew it were my last day here on this mortal coil, I wouldn’t be rushing out to complete my bucket list and living my best life. Instead, I’d be crying in a corner, devastated for the daughter I was leaving behind.

Even setting aside the literal meaning of it being your last day, I think it’s safe to assume that the saying is meant to motivate you to get out there and do the things you’ve always wanted to do. To face your fears, swallow your pride, kick up your heels, and paint the town red. Or whatever other clichéd phrase takes your fancy.

And, while that’s generally good advice, it’s a little ambitious to expect us to sustain that level of output over a prolonged period. After all, even the most seasoned of singers has to stop to take a breath every now and again. So here’s a better alternative:

“Live some days as if they were your best.”

I realise it’s not as jazzy as the original, and it’s probably not going to be shared all over social media, but I think the message is infinitely more realistic and relatable.

You don’t have boundless energy and enthusiasm (or, presumably, finances, ‘cause some of that bucket list shit is EXPENSIVE), but that’s OK. Life, like music, has more than one note.

'Live each day as if it were your last' is bad advice. Here's what to do instead (no more endless swan song):

If you don’t have a good ol’ mope every now and again, you won’t appreciate the days you’re actually motivated enough to get out of bed. If you don’t sob your heart out once in a while, you’ll never know the depth and breadth of your feelings. If you always sing the same note, you’ll never participate in a good old fashioned after-hours a cappella sing-song.

If you don’t suffer knock-backs you’ll never know triumphs.

So give yourself a day off from daring greatly. Rest days are vitally important for your health, both physically and mentally. They’re the things that give your life perspective and context. They allow for a deeper, richer, more meaningful experience.

Once you’ve had time to wallow, get back out there for your encore.

We have a tendency to coast through life, allowing the tide to take us where it may. Each day is just average — a low, steady hum in a cacophonous concrete jungle.

But every now and again it’s good to take things up an octave and remind ourselves that we have a huge amount of control over what we do and how we do it. We can’t go all out every single day, but we should still throw in a few soprano segments.

Most days will be your chorus — the thing that’s instantly recognisable and ties everything together. It’s your daily routine: your drive to the grocery store, the whir of your washing machine, the swish of the dishwasher, the beat of your footsteps as you walk to work.

Some others will be the dark, moody intro. The clash of egos, the crash of broken dreams, the heaving sobs and crushing despair.

But some days will be your solo. Your chance to shine. To command centre stage, give a dazzling performance, and be the star of the show. Go ahead and shred some air guitar while you’re at it.

Living every day as if it were your last would just lead to an endless swan song.

Instead, give your life more melody and meaning. Embrace both the highs and the lows, find comfort in the familiar chorus… but also be sure to compose more solos for yourself.

Live some days as if they were your best.

And always, always dance to your own beat.

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