less than three weeks to live

tirol karlovy vary carlsbad
photo credit: thengineer

Today’s post is a guest post from my wife, Bubelah.

Last night we watched a movie – “Last Holiday” – and it made me think. Starring Queen Latifah as Georgia Byrd, a Louisiana retail clerk, the premise is simple: Georgia’s doctor tells her that she has three weeks to live and she changes everything about her life. Rather than giving in to despair, she quits her job, cashes out all of her savings and decides to blow all of her money.  She sets out to live her life to the fullest in the brief time she believes she has remaining.  She treats herself to the European vacation of a lifetime.  She flies first class, stays in the Presidential suite, eats the finest food and gets every spa treatment on the menu.

It was a cute movie- not grand – but fun enough to watch and thought-provoking at times. I especially enjoyed Karlovy Vary‘s (Carlsbad’s) wintry landscape.  The movie was filmed in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and in Tirol, Austria, and the result was amazing.  The movie’s scenery wasn’t limited to outdoor scenery, either:  chefs from the Food Network traveled with the movie crew and prepared beautiful culinary creations used in the movie.
But this post is not just about the movie.  As I said, it made me think.

What would I do if I had only 3 weeks to live?
I have so many things I want to do and see and experience in this life. Where do I start? Mind you, I have two little kids and a husband. And I have my family that I love dearly. In the movie, Georgia has no family and the only relative mentioned is her sister.

Would I cash out everything I saved and blow it on my last fancy vacation or experiences? Here I stop. I pause because I do not know. Of course I would do it with my family and my children. But I have my  children’s future to think about.  Their future is in my hands now while they are still very young. I guess I will agonize about the right decision until my time runs out.

What would YOU do if you had only a few weeks to live?

It is so tiresome to think about the money all the time. It’s like a person who is on a starvation diet.  Once you realize that the starvation diet might not work, you have a tendency to binge.  In the movie, Georgia realizes that her choices have been simplified – she will die soon, and so without consequence she can live life to the fullest.  What all of us have to decide is where the balance is between spending and saving.  Sometimes it’s worth living like today is your last chance at life.

10 comments

  • Good to hear from the fairer side of the family, Bubelah. Of course living life to the fullest isn’t necessarily synonymous with “shooting the works.” I would certainly want to add to my range of experiences, but I would also want be remembered fondly by those around me.

    Then there’s the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night.” Particularly the line “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. Of course, he’s describing a personal rage, not a rage against society, so it doesn’t mean go out and blow something up. But it does mean that you don’t accept the inevitable. I think that might be the real lesson here.

    I saw the movie. I generally like the acting range of Queen Latifah, but this was a little too sickly sweet for my taste.

  • This is a toughie.

    People with families will choose a different route from the bachelors. About the only thing all of us should agree upon is that none will choose to spend more time in the office.

    Regards

  • This is definitely a tough one. One wouldn’t really know unless (god forbid) they were actually told so..
    The thing is that with so many people in US in debt now maxed out on their credit cards, they have already lived life to the fullest..
    And then what happens if the doctor was wrong and you live on for 70 more years?
    I read a biography of the first Rockeffeller, the founder of Standard Oil. When he was in his 20’s, a doctor told him that he won’t live very long.
    At the time of his death close to the age of 100, he actually outlived his 38th doctor …

  • Whatever I did, it would have absolutely nothing to do with money. We are so caught up in making money, I think we forget that at the end, we all die and money means nothing.

    I think I would eat ice cream and pizza until I could not move. Oh, and hang out with family. 🙂

  • If I had three weeks to live I would write faster! (I’m kidding)

    I would quit my job and spend it entirely with my little girl, arrange my own funeral so that my family did not have to, and stop worry about quitting smoking!

    🙂 Neat prompt!

  • One of my family members, very close to myself in age (ie young), is battling cancer somewhat unsuccessfully at the moment. So I’ve had the chance to think about this. And …. I haven’t changed anything much. I think it’s easy to talk the talk on this one, less easy to reorient your life to live as if you had three weeks left.

  • Not to be a downer, but I think most people spend the time trying to find a way to not only have 3 weeks left… I don’t know if I’d be different.

  • Deepali, that is the whole point: Do you try to fight the sickness, go through countless chemotherapies and throwing up in between, to prolong your stay with your loved one, even if you suffer? Or do you live out your last weeks they way you always wanted, enjoying to the fullest possible?
    G-d forbid, I don’t want ever to find out.

  • I agree Bubelah, thinking about money all the time is frustrating and tiring. It takes such focus and discipline to develop sound financial habits, but we have to make sure and not lose track of what’s really important in the process.

  • Hmm. I’d get all my papers in order, and probably go home and spend the weekend with family (siblings, parents), and try and catch up with friends as much as possible. But really, 3 weeks isn’t long enough for me to do anything. I think I’d need to cut back severely on sleep in order to allow me to experience as much as possible. And take a lot of half days from work.