Life is Tenuous
by Peggy Vaughan

On some level, we know that life is tenuous - but we live our lives as if there were some kind of guarantee (or at least expectation) that our lives will continue for some extended period of time. When so many lives end unexpectedly (and tragically) as those lost in the September 11, 2001 attack, it reminds us that there is no real "protection" from the tenuous nature of life. No one is immune; we are all vulnerable.

This is not meant to create fear or anxiety; rather it's intended to be a "wake-up call" to remind us of two important points that we tend to forget:

    First, to live more fully each day by "living in the moment"—which means being aware of our surroundings and actions.
    Second, to take responsibility for creating the life we want—which means being aware of the life choices we are making.

In trying to increase our awareness, we need to understand just what is meant by "living in the moment." This was best expressed by Ted Rosenthal (as he was dying of leukemia at age 34) in his book, "How Could I Not Be Among You?"

    "People misunderstand the whole notion of living for the moment versus living in the moment. I think living for the moment is a difficult thing to do and it sort of makes you goofy anyway. But that's very different from living in the moment. To live in the being able to live life fully from moment to moment."

Having worked with the life-planning process for 35 years, we know that this is an ongoing challenge. So I hope as you focus on the inevitable sense of loss that death represents, you will resolve to be more mindful of your own life in terms of how you're living each day—as well as the degree to which you are "Living Your Life by Choice Instead of Chance."

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