“Live as if you would die tomorrow. Learn as if you would live forever” – Gandhi

Today is quote day! Last week, I wrote about the links between optimism and spring.  This week’s quote has been stolen from the email signature of one of my friends here in Iqaluit (although he’s currently camping and hiking in the mountains of Mexico where its give or take 60 degrees warmer).  That said, I am thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and snow of Iqaluit’s frozen springtime wonderland almost as much as he’s enjoying Mexico…its the principle of ‘love the one you’re with’ as first espoused by the Isley Brothers.  (I don’t think they were talking about landscape somehow, but whatever.)  However, if anyone is interested in flying me to Mexico, just let me know.

Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, here is the long-anticipated quote:

Live as if you would die tomorrow. Learn as if you would live forever. -Gandhi

Seize the day. Carpe diem. We’re all familiar with those (very dearly loved, on my part anyways) cliches.  It doesn’t make it any less true because someone said it before you – its not cliche to say the Earth revolves around the sun.  It does however, make it that much more challenging to put it into action. I’ve been thinking about it a lot- it often gets said in the context of eat an extra piece of cake or stay up past your bedtime.  Now, I’m not disagreeing with those things- because who doesn’t like cake? – but I do think that if that’s the sum total of what we believe ‘seize the day’ to mean, we’re missing out on some of the advice Gandhi was trying to bestow.

It also means live in the moment and be present in what you are doing.  If you were to die tomorrow, you would not only choose to do your favourite things, you would also make super sure you were fully investing in those moments, taking it all in and not being distracted by other things – like your phone, your job, or updating your Twitter status.

My favourite part of the quote though is by far, “learn as if you would live forever”.  As someone who absolutely loves learning (check out the explanation of my blog title for more on this), the encouragement to do so all the time is received with open arms.  As I’ve said before, the world is full of interesting things to learn about – there’s no shortage.  Despite that truth though, its easy to put it off.  I myself am guilty of it.  But, if I was to learn as if I would live forever, I think it would be easier to prioritize. And I’d have more questions about everything, and be less willing to accept ‘because’ as the answer.  Call me a child, but its true.

What does ‘learn as if you would live forever’ mean to you?

Live fully. Learn continuously.  Happy Saturday!

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