The Last Time

Aware of the inevitable end

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Whenever I’m unhappy, I realize that there’s usually just 1 thing missing in my life… death.

What I mean is that the only thing I’m forgetting is death.

And I’m not just talking about the kind with the casket. I also mean the inevitable death of a day, the death of an experience, or the death of an entire chapter of my life.

This really sunk in for me one morning a couple years ago. I was just cruising the boardwalk of Venice Beach. Longboard under foot. Coffee in hand. I was living by the beach with 5 of my closest friends. I was livin’ the dream.

That afternoon, we were hosting a rooftop band party - the same one we’d hosted 3 or 4 times earlier that summer. But, this time, my mood was a little different than the first time we hosted. This time, I was just kinda excited for the upcoming party.

This was a far cry from the first time. Flashback to that first time:
Moon Cougar showed up early afternoon for sound check.
Brett plugged in the bass.
Jacob tapped the sticks (in that effortlessly cool way that only real drummers do).
Then they shredded a sound-check solo.

We were in awe...
This was a legit band...
Doing a sound check...
On our roof...
For our party...

Coug is loose

But, as we did more & more of these parties, they became just slightly more routine. The novelty had worn off.

Then, it hit me...

While I was on the boardwalk, I listened to this 4min clip on the Waking Up app called, The Last Time.

The narrator, Sam Harris, shines a light on the fact that we often go through life unaware of all the times we’re doing something for the last time.
When’s the last time you’ll put your kid on your shoulders?
When’s the last time you’ll strap on your skis?
When’s the last time you’ll jump in the ocean?

For me, on that day, it was “When’s the last time you’ll host a band party on your rooftop with all your best friends in LA?”

The scarcity didn’t ramp up my anxiety, it amped up my excitement. If this really was the last time, then I wanted to be in the front-row, head-banging next to Geno during the Everlong solo.

The roof sustained minor injuries in the throwing of this party. It is now in stable condition

The clip also got me thinking about my entire LA chapter. I started thinking:

“Odds are the 6 of us won’t be living together when we’re 70, so that means we have to move out eventually...
So, naturally, there’ll be a last time I play volleyball with Victor.
There’ll be a last time I do a beach workout with Justin.
There’ll be a last time I discuss work-life balance with Griffin in the kitchen.
And, as much as I don’t want to admit it, there will be a last time I drive to Dockweiler with Chris & Brace to surf under a stunning morning sunrise, before stopping for a warm cup-a-joe on the way home.”

I’m endlessly grateful that I got this reminder when I did. Because, eventually, that finality did come to pass. We moved out of the house. Our own band broke up.

But, once it was over, I wasn’t tempted to grasp at the past because I got grounded in the moment when I was in it.
I was grateful for the experience as I experienced it.
I stopped taking these incredible gifts for granted.

And now that I’ve moved on to my new life in NYC, I aim to carry this perspective with me.

There will be a last time I organize a Sunday Sustenance walk.
There will be a last time I write in my neighborhood coffeeshop.
There will be a last time I run the West Side Highway.
There will be a last time I walk into the Insight office.

I don’t know when these “lasts” will be, but I do know they’ll come eventually.

So, I don’t want to go through the motions.
I don’t want to wish time away.
I want to be here, even when here is hard.

I don’t want to wait for the “last bite” to be mindful of the food in front of me. I want to remember this inevitable end, so that I relish in the right now.

Because, at the end of the day, the fact that it won't last forever is what makes it so special.

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