One Year to Live

I find it somewhat appropriate (albeit completely unplanned) that my blog hop date falls on September 11th. For my lovely friend Nadine Brandes’ book release this coming month (the 23rd), I wanted to write–and ponder–what I would do if I knew I only had one year left to live. Brandes’ book details the life of a girl living in the future America, where people are synced to life Clocks at birth and, in essence, are given a set amount of time to live. When Parvin Blackwater is thrown past the mysterious Wall for trying to rescue wrongly-imprisoned Radicals (people who have broken their Clocks in defiance of the government), she discovers things that just may change her, her family, and the world forever. But she only has one year left to live. That seems like a massive amount of time to me (OCD breaking everything into bits for me), and anticipating anything makes me freeze in place. I’m going to estimate roughly what I would do if I had a year to live, then break the year into smaller units.


Relationships are really all we have in life, when one boils down the essence of living. I can’t estimate that I would run to all the people that are obscure in my life. Would I at least contact them? I imagine so, yes. However, the significant puzzle pieces that have hugged my life’s jigsaw so tightly are the ones I believe that would deserve the most attention. For instance, I would watch The Paradise with my mother, and then I would find a copy of the book and read it aloud to her so we could enjoy it simultaneously. My brothers would venture with me down to Universal Studios, then to Skywalker Ranch out in California.

My life hardly seems to matter in light of knowing it will end, so why waste the precious few moments I have in a year on me? The frivolity of Me shines a different sort of light once Me is about to come to an end. Unfinished matters–never business with family–would never haunt me. I’d be dead! If anything, my last year would never be about myself, but those I would be leaving behind.


I would hop the train home this evening and talk with my mother about everything I ever dreamed and feared, and I would still buy a copy of Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise to read out loud so we could compare it to the show. My library would fall upon her shoulders, and I would divulge all my secret plot information for the upcoming books in my series so she could take them and write them in my stead. Stories demand to be told; why do you think authors are often publishing posthumously? I don’t know if I would have enough time to see Universal Studios, but I would try my darndest.


Home would be the place to be, and I would eat all the good food I could and talk with my family as much as possible before my last breath was snatched out of my lungs.


The evening train, again, would be the first place I would go, leaving behind everything I knew and making it home in time to see my family.


I would call my mother and talk until I couldn’t anymore.


Well, now that’s just silly. I’d be dead before I realized it.

Recently, though, I have been pondering much more than if I had a year to live. What if someone I knew and loved deeply only had one year? I won’t give you tripe and trivialities by saying that I would rush to their side, because what if I couldn’t? Life is divided into snippets sometimes, which are significantly shorter than moments and infinitely longer than the infinite pauses between the two. And further than that, when it ultimately is played out on the grand scale, sometimes life seems to meter out words unfairly, not just years or seconds or minutes or months. Some live in silence their entire lives, but their actions far supersede the vain and useless attempts at guff and bluster that some writers try to throw over on the rest of us.

Words and time are currencies that must be spent wisely at every opportunity. Idle things, they can be, but we, under the influence and guiding hand of God, MUST be conscientious of how we spend them–writers, you know I’m aiming this bow in your direction. What we write matters; what we say matters; what we do matters. As a writer and as an editor and as a person, I realize just how greatly my red pen can build up or break into dusty little bits, irreparable and likely to blow away in the wind. We must not simply writer; we must write with purpose, spending our words as wisely and as powerfully as we can. Lord knows we only have so many of them in this life.

a year to live Nadine is also having a Rafflecopter giveaway
 for her book. Check that stuff out.


7 thoughts on “One Year to Live

    • I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose the news would be terribly difficult to break, no matter how the circumstance was brought about. But yes, I think that would be necessary to do…

  1. “If anything, my last year would never be about myself, but those I would be leaving behind.” Totally agree with this. Great post! 🙂

  2. Love this, mostly because I like hearing about what people value most in their life and also because I have thought about this myself, it’s good to know I’m not alone in my thoughts.

  3. Thank you for your wise words (to writers)! Liked how you broke this post into time segments too. Good way to look at it without getting overwhelmed.

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