Before The Clock Strikes Midnight


It’s 11:00 pm. I’m wrapping up my day, recounting today’s events, planning tomorrow’s… and I just thought, “Who says I even GET a tomorrow? What if I didn’t – What would be left undone?’’ We’ve all heard the country song. We know we’re supposed to be living like we were dying… But on my last day, I actually don’t think I’d choose to go skydiving or mountain climbing – and if you see me getting on a bull named Fu Man Chu, please knock some sense back into me.


What would I actually do on my last day? What does it really mean to live like you were dying?

If I knew my breaths were numbered –


  • I’d savor each one. I’d take the time to notice what it feels like to take a deep breath and exhale.
  • I’d make a video for my kids, telling them who their Daddy really is beyond what their young minds can understand.
  • I’d write them notes for major holidays and life events.
  • I’d pray. I imagine I’d pray the most honest prayer I’ve ever prayed, with a fervor I’ve never mustered.
  • I’d call my family and my friends. I’d tell them exactly what they mean to me, and I’d beg them with everything I had left to run the rest of their race to the fullest.
  • I’d name specific gifts I see in them.
  • I’d right my wrongs as best as I could… If I needed to come clean with someone, I’d do it.
  • I’d forgive those who’ve wronged me in half a heartbeat, and let them know they’re forgiven – whether they asked for it or not.
  • I’d tie up loose ends. If someone was relying on me for something, I’d make sure they could pick up where I left off.
  • I’d find a kid I didn’t know and tell them my story in hopes that I might change a life.
  • I’d find someone who’d poured into my life and thank them for it.
  • I’d sing.
  • I’d play with my dog.
  • I’d hold the ones I love the most, tighter and longer than ever before.
  • I’d lavish kind words and encouragement on them.
  • And kisses.
  • I’d give away everything I’d accumulated to those who could still use it.
  • I’d clean up any messes I’d left lying around… Now that I think about it, that extends far beyond how I meant it as I wrote.
  • I’d tell my wife everything – EVERYTHING she means to me – and I’d let go of our shortcomings as a couple. I’d let her know that I KNOW she’d made me the luckiest man in the world.

Interesting – nothing here about enjoying my stuff. Wow… not one. Stunning. The pursuit and maintaining of stuff occupies the majority of our time, and yet, in the end, it doesn’t matter at all.


When I started this post, my goal was to identify what I’d do if I knew I was dying. But as I’m wrapping up, I’m realizing that if these things are important enough to me to accomplish in my last days or hours, maybe I should make them more important right here and now. So I’m making this my LIFE LIST. Tomorrow, I’m gonna wake up and get to work at finishing my life well… for as many more days as I’m given.


What would YOU do if you knew your breaths were numbered?


All of us need to be reminded what really matters now and then. If you think this would encourage someone you know, please share it with your friends and family.

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27 thoughts on “Before The Clock Strikes Midnight

  1. Diana says:

    Good words to live by. Thanks Chance. Keep on writing as if this were your last day. We need to hear what you have to say. Love you & yours.

  2. Dave says:

    I’ve thought a lot on this topic for several days now… Two weekends ago I sang at the funeral of a 19 year-old who died in a senseless auto accident. His dad asked me to sing “One More Day” by Diamond Rio. It was incredibly emotional.
    Now with the addition of several interesting points in your blog, you have me thinking some more…
    Thank you, Chance.

  3. Bethany says:

    Good heavens, Chance! That was powerful, and just what I needed this morning.

  4. Thank you Chance, I’m going to do the same today.

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