I've been thinking a lot lately about why I do the things I do. Why do I wake up in the mornings? Why do I go to work? Why do I cook meals, go on walks, and read my scriptures?
The answer to each of these questions is fairly simple: because I have to. I have to get out of bed every day so I can go to work, which enables me to pay my bills. I have to eat, exercise, and study my scriptures because my body needs it to survive and thrive.
The most important whys, however, lie in how you spend your time doing things that aren't necessary to your survival, things like going to choir practice, playing softball, or attending a book club meeting.
About a month ago, my family went to visit my grandpa, who is on hospice care. On the surface, he seemed like the same sweet old man I always remembered. But I had to wonder how I would react if I were the one lying there, waiting for death to come. Would I spend my waking hours regretting all the things I didn't do, or would I rejoice in the life I had lived?
I am certain that when I find myself at Death's doors, I won't be reflecting on the things I had to do, like prepare meals and pay the bills. Rather, I'll be reflecting on the the passions I pursued and the people I loved. I don't think I'll regret the hours I spent writing and playing the piano, or the years I spent building relationships, because I didn't do these things because I had to: I did them because they were what made life rich, even if I spent a majority of my time doing what had to be done.
The nice thing about doing the things that really matter is that even if the moments are small and fleeting, they are powerful, and they tend to stick with you. You don't have to dedicate your life to doing only the things that will make you smile when you reach the end of life's road. Simply pursuing your passions every day, even if it's just for a few minutes, is enough.