I always feel sad when I hear of someone having terminal cancer, even if I don’t know them. Today it was guitarist ‘Wilco’ Johnson, who has terminal pancreatic cancer.
On the back of this news, Wilco has announced a farewell tour – provided he feels well enough to perform.
Death is a journey none of us can avoid, but there’s something about being told it will be soon that so often seems to sharpen the senses and produce clarity in the person concerned.
Wilco was no exception, and admitted to the BBC this morning to experiencing a feeling of euphoria and being ‘vividly alive’ following his diagnosis. Ironic then that he was once in a band called Dr Feelgood.
There’s a lesson for us all here and it’s about living in the moment. As children we do it naturally but, as we get older, the worry and baggage of our lives often robs us of this precious gift.
Most adults spend so much time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future that they experience the present on autopilot, not paying attention to the wonders around them and immersing themselves fully in the moment. I know I’m guilty of this.
Little wonder then that the years seem to last forever when you’re a child and fly by when you’re an adult. Wilco explained:
“Right now it’s just fantastic – it makes you feel alive. Just walking down the street you really feel alive. Every little thing you see, every cold breeze against your face, every brick in the road, you think ‘I’m alive, I’m alive’ – I hope I can hang onto that”.
“The things that used to bring me down, or worry me, or annoy me, they don’t matter anymore – and that’s when you sit thinking ‘Wow, why didn’t I work this out before? Why didn’t I work out before that it’s just the moment you’re in that matters?’
“Worrying about the future or regretting the past is just a foolish waste of time. Of course we can’t all be threatened with imminent death, but it probably takes that to knock a bit of sense into our heads.”
Roger that Wilco.
Let’s not wait to hear of our imminent death before living how we naturally did as children. Let’s learn from the past, but accept we can’t change it and move on. Let’s not worry about the future, because worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet is nothing more than a waste of time and energy.
Instead let’s focus on the now. Fully living in the moment is a gift we can all enjoy. I like to think that’s why it’s called the present.