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  • Writer's pictureAlberta Wray

When it's the Last Time...

Why do we capture things the 'first time it happens'? Things like a baby's first step or first tooth. Remembering the first time someone tells you they love you. Our first trip overseas. The first time we were successful at communicating in another language. Or how about the first time we danced in someone's arms. Or our first time to live overseas.


Years ago, I read a book by Karen Kingsbury. In her book, one of the characters, the Grandma, was talking with her daughter, and she mentioned something in this fictional novel that has stuck with me ever since. She stated in this very important question: Why is it that we tend to capture the 'firsts' in our lives, but we rarely capture 'lasts'. I've thought about this question many times. I remember reading this at a very opportune time in my life. I was just getting ready to head back to Africa; to a country I had been to several times. I remember saying to myself, 'what if this was the last time I went to Ghana'; 'what if this was the last time serving on a ship with people I might never see again.


I said to myself... Spend the next six weeks onboard the M/V Anastasis as if this were the last time; create special memories as if they were your last; see and interact with people onboard as if it was the last time I would ever see them. The result? The best six weeks of my life, in Africa. That was in 2006. 13 years ago. Thirteen years since I've returned from Africa. Most of the people, I have yet to see since 2006. While onboard, I made it a point to create new memories; meet new people. I made it a point to have as many meaningful conversations with people as I could. I lived those six weeks as if it were th e last time, and you know what? It was the last time for a lot of experiences, and with some amazing people.


I wish I could say I try to do everything as if it were my last...sadly, I don't. But I recently made a decision to fly and meet up with my parents and one of my sisters. The primary purpose was to attend a Celebration of Life of one of my uncles, but I did it with the intent of 'what if it was my last' with my immediate and extended family - the result? Amazing moments, conversations, and investment in others.


None of us know when we will experience 'our last' time when ... (fill in the blank). Let's all take the challenge of living our life experiences as 'if it were our last time'. It would cause us to make meaningful moments count; experiences that we have will be even richer. I'm game, are you?





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