How to Live Each Day Like It’s Your Last

I am finally writing this post (which has been on my agenda for some time) having just had a day that would not qualify as a good “last day” full of happiness. Life is like that though. Despite your best intentions, sometimes days are just tough.

However, I  am not losing heart. I am owning this day and chalking it up as a retry. Tomorrow will be better. I will be more pleasant, I will have a better attitude, and I will exercise more patience. Each of us only has the one life (you know the one) and for the most part, what we do and how we act is up to us. Happiness is a choice.

I feel like it is easy to put your life on hold. To always be waiting for something that will make you happy. I will be happy when I get married…I will be happy when I get pregnant…I will be happy when I land my dream job…etc. Why is it so hard for each of us to just be happy now?

I want you to take a second and imagine what you would do if you knew it was your last day to live (pause for think time.) Would you choose happiness on your last day? (If you are the type of person who would choose panic over happiness this is not the post for you.)

If you are anything like me, your day would be full of happiness. It would include things like time with family, good food, some bucket list items, and reflection.

With those things in mind, here are my six ways to live each day like it is your last, be a happier parent/person, and not go broke.

Spend Your Time and Attention Wisely

This first one is all about priorities. Unless Facebook is your one true love, it probably wouldn’t be high on the list of things to do on your last day on earth. Each day should be at least roughly prioritized in order of importance. Is it more important to visit a friend or do the laundry (the answer to this question may not be the same each day). Just make sure that you focus on the things that are the most important first.

Plan Something Into Your Day That Will Make You Happy

There are a lot of things that make me happy. I love to leave the house. Exercising makes me feel good. I love to create things, watch movies, read books, learn new things, spend time with people I love. . . There are a lot of options. If you make time for at least one thing that makes you happy each day then you will inevitably be happier and more pleasant to be around. Your children will thank you.

As a side note: plan for the big stuff (bucket list items) so that you can make those happen too. Save money for your trip to Italy. Pick a day to go skydiving. Etc.

Spend Time With Someone You Love

I would bet that earlier, (when I asked you to think about how you would spend your time if you knew you were living your last day) someone specific came to mind. Someone you love, someone you need to reconcile with, someone you have not seen for a long time…In order to live each day like it is our last, we need to include the people who matter on a day-to-day basis. You never know when someone will be gone (in one way or another) so it is important to take advantage of whatever time you do have.

Eat Something Delicious

I freakin love food. My waistline can testify to the fact. I think that there is a fine line between eating healthy and going crazy. Life is too short to not eat the food you love,  try new things, and eat decadent desserts. However, you don’t have to overeat. One or two bites of a really good dessert. A bacon cheeseburger once a month. A fruit you love. Just make sure that you include something delicious in your meal plan each day.

Do Something For Someone Else

Service is kind of magical. When you take a minute to help someone else you take a step outside of yourself and your own immediate needs. This grants you gratitude, clarity, understanding, and love for your fellow men. We truly end up loving those we serve. So, doing something for someone else each day not only makes us happier, it also brings more people into our lives to love.

Enjoy The Small Things

Take time each day to just enjoy the mundane. Look at the blessings you are surrounded by and be grateful for them. Enjoy the running water, playing with your baby, a machine that literally washes your clothes, the opportunity to read, multiple grocery stores to buy food from, a brain that works, a job, free time… Whatever your daily life brings you, take a minute to find the positive and enjoy it. Be happy for the now.

Make Peace With God

If I could pick my time of death, it would be during church. I am usually at my best when I am at church (not that I am not good the rest of the time, but when I am at church I am on my absolute best behavior). That is crazy. The odds that I will die at church are like one to 61. That being the case, it only makes sense for me to be on my best behavior all of the time. Pray regularly, study my scriptures, repent, be kind to others, etc.

I know I would prepare to meet God if I knew it was happening on a certain day but it should be enough to just know that it will happen eventually. Like I said last week. Preparation is our best protection.

Anyway, these are my six ways to live each day like it is your last. Most of them don’t cost a dime (unless you have super expensive hobbies and tastes) so completing them won’t mess with your budget. They will also make you a happier person and a better parent. Who doesn’t want that?

What would you add to this list? How do you live each day like it is your last?

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8 Things I Learned Hiking With My Baby

 

Before becoming a stay at home mom I was a teacher. Now, I truly loved the school year and all that came with it (most of the time) but even more than that, I loved the summer. June, July, and August are great reasons to teach. Pre-baby, I would spend my summers hiking and biking and reading. After I had L, I didn’t want too much to change in the way of adventures. I took him on his first hike at five weeks old (end of April) and we haven’t really stopped since. Here are eight things I have learned about hiking with a baby (5 weeks – 12 months).

Take someone with you. 

I have probably taken L on over 30 hikes in his first year of life and I have only ever done three alone. Taking a willing buddy makes everything from moving the baby, to changing a diaper, to carrying all the baby gear easier.

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Breastfeed if possible.

Now I know I have a whole post about how I hate breastfeeding but hiking is one of the few times when I wished I was better at it. There is nothing like hauling bottles around in your backpack especially if they are full of pre-pumped breastmilk. Depending on your hike, your baby will drink butter if you aren’t careful. That being said, I did haul bottles around because I was terrible at breastfeeding.

Pack milk carefully with an ice pack and bring more than you think you will need.

In order to avoid the aforementioned butter, pack milk carefully. If it is breast milk, I suggest bringing at least two bottles in an insulated bag with an ice pack. Formula is much easier to pack than breast milk. Just have your bottles of water ready to go and have the formula premeasured. I love these containers for formula.

Baby Needs Shade

This may seem obvious but I am a bad mom and didn’t even think about it the first time. When I asked my pediatrician how much I could have L outside and what precautions to take, he told me, “as much as you want but make sure he is covered”, not in sunscreen, mind you, but in material and shade if possible. So, L usually hiked in a bucket hat and his light cotton PJ’s because they covered everything but his neck and hands (it is really hard to keep the bottom of a baby leg covered when they are in a front facing carrier). I also slathered him in sunscreen, after making sure his skin had no reaction to it, before and during every hike (especially his hands, neck, and face).

Use Hiking Poles

I was never one for hiking poles and didn’t start using them until I tripped while wearing L. I was lucky and tripped on nothing on a completely flat trail and nobody got hurt. But had I tripped twenty minutes earlier it could have been bad. Ever since that day I have hiked with poles because it just isn’t worth falling. Wearing a baby that moves of his on volition can throw off your balance.

Have a Comfortable Carrier

This one is so important. Use a comfortable carrier. I know some people love slings but I really don’t and I wanted something a little tougher for hiking. I think that because I am a hiker, I prefer to have the weight on my hips, not my shoulders. So, I did my research and found one that I thought would work for me. Admittedly, the one I got was kind of difficult to use when L was a little floppy newborn (I still don’t know if that was me or the carrier though). It did work, however, and I have absolutely loved it ever since he got to the point where he could hold his own head up. He is 32 inches tall now and I’m not sure how much longer it will work but it is still comfortable and we both like it. Anyway, do your research and find one that works for you. (Borrow some from mom friends first to see what you like.)

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Pick an Amount of Time to Hike Not a Place to Get To

Not only does picking an amount of time help you pack better but it allows for flexibility. Hiking with a baby requires a lot of flexibility and patience. So instead of deciding that you will make it to the top of a mountain, decide that you will hike for two hours. This allows for stretching breaks and diaper changes and tree touching (Link loves to touch all the trees)  without the fear of not meeting a goal.  It’s okay to have fun, introduce your baby to nature and take it slowly if you need to. Just remember that your baby might have different plans than you do. They might not want to make it to the top of the mountain or even make it for your planned two hours.

What to Take for Baby

I know it is hard to pack your own stuff and your baby’s stuff. Even if you have a willing helper who carries everything it’s hard to know what to take. The things I have found necessary for baby on a relatively short (1-3 hours) day hike after this first year are as follows:

  • Diapers and wipes: determine how long you will be gone and figure out how many diapers you will likely need, then take at least two more. Sitting in a carrier for too long against your sweaty body can irritate your baby’s skin, you don’t want them getting a diaper rash as well. Be brave and change them on the hike.
  • A spare set of clothing (or an extra pair of pajamas): L has completely peed and/or pooped out his clothing no fewer than four times on hikes. Something about that spread eagle position makes blowouts more common.
  • Food (bottles or boobies): see above.
  • Burp cloth: I always take two and tuck one behind him and one in front of him in the carrier. This protects me in case of a blowout and gives him something to suck on. Your baby might not want to suck on the front of the carrier but mine sure does. They also come in handy for other things (see swaddle blanket).
  • Sunscreen: I put the baby sunscreen in a travel size container and we both wear it.
  • A light swaddle blanket: These don’t add a lot of weight but they are super useful. I have used one as a changing pad, extra shade, extra warmth, a pillow, a prop for pictures, and we even stuffed one into the leg of his jammies to keep him warm after he peed once and we didn’t have extra clothes.
  • A jacket: I usually take a larger jacket for me and zip us both in.  During the last couple of months of his first year, I brought him a jacket each time as well.
  • Snacks: I didn’t need much in the way of snacks for L until about 11 months. He preferred the bottles on hikes. Know your own baby.

I would love to hear anything that you have learned hiking with your baby. Comment below with your own hiking tips!

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