We’re All Going to Die So You May As Well Live | Lisa Steingold

We’re All Going to Die So Get Living

How to live well
If we are to live life to it's fullest extent, it helps to think about death.

On the 16th of November 2022, one of my dearest friends and a former coaching client of mine passed away. I don’t know why she was my client when in the end it was she who taught me so much about life. 

This post is a tribute to her; we’re all going to die so you may as well live.

Forgive the serious nature of the post but I often find when you get serious about things, life seems to lighten up and make much more sense. It’s one of those funny life truths.

Life quote on lisa steingold blog

A story about life and death

My friend Tracey (I’ve changed her name) was at the top of her career. She had an MBA and was second in charge of her company. Then she turned 40 and wanted a child. Perhaps because she’d placed so much into her career and perhaps that’s just the way life is, she didn’t have a partner. 

So she turned 40, left her high-flying corporate job and started IVF treatment to fall pregnant. At 41 she gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby boy. Shortly after her 42nd birthday and after we’d recently seen each other, she called me. 

Are you sitting down?

Yes, I replied. 

I have cancer. 

I laughed. 

She didn’t. 

You’re not joking.


A year later she was no longer here. 

During the time that she was here, in the final year of her life, we talked a lot. She shared her fears, her hopes and her absolute devastation over her situation and the fact that she wouldn’t see her son grow up nor would he know his mother. 

It was a great privilege for me to have these conversations with her. 

When someone shares the most intimate parts of themselves and their time with you given that their clock only has so many strikes left, it’s a privilege. All the barriers drop and you’re just two people talking about what’s real – knowing that you’re both playing a losing time game but you win through heartfelt connection.

Then she stopped answering my messages but I always hoped she’d be okay. I wanted her to be okay.

But in the end she had to go.

Marcus Aurelius Quote on the Art of Living
Liz Fosslien

5 Ways to practice the art of living

1. Write your playbook for life

There is a book titled, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Bronnie Ware having worked in palliative care spent much time with the dying. She uncovered these common regrets:

  • Regret 1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  • Regret 2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  • Regret 3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  • Regret 4: I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends
  • Regret 5: I wish I had let myself be happier

Most of us don’t think about how we want to live because we’re too busy trying to survive. We get caught up in life, in paying bills, in adulting… We forget that to some extent, we do have a choice.

Fast forward to the last day of your life and think what your number one regret would be. If you can’t imagine that day, imagine that today was your last day. 

  • What would you stop doing?
  • Who would you spend time with?
  • What would you say?
  • What would you start doing?
  • What do you want your daily habits to be?

Don’t leave thing until you’re saying “I wish…”

You can! Go do it!

2. Forgive. Everyone

I met a guy once upon a time. I liked him a lot. And we parted ways. I was sad. I’d liked him and I didn’t understand why we never spoke anymore.

Cest la vie, I guessed but my heart carried the sadness. I often thought of him. I sometimes got angry. 

A year down the line he dropped me a message out of the blue. I was super happy to hear from him and when I met up with him again he told me, in the time since we saw each other, he’d had a brain tumour. 

He’d spent a month in hospital with zero recollection of it. When he got out he changed his life he told me. He’d stopped spending every spare second on work. He bought a retreat in the mountains. He’d done a trip of 6000kms motorbike with his best friend. 

It made me so happy to hear his story. My heart was at peace.

In that moment I realized everyone is fighting a battle you/we know nothing about. Nothing!

Forgive them. Everyone. Your exes, the people who you feel let you down, or those you’d wished to keep walking with but for some or other reason couldn’t.

Someone asked me if that meant she should just stop the court case between her and her ex-husband. Of course, I can’t answer that but I did say to her that you can forgive someone and still stand your course of action without wishing them harm. Sometimes we have to take a course of action but there’s a difference between doing it out of spite or out of a genuine need to take that course of action.

Marcus Aurelius quote on life and death

3. Do the small things that make you happy and direct your energy

How stupid are we humans sometimes? We waste so much energy on nonsense. That’s ok, it’s part of being human but also we can be conscious of how we spend our time and energy.

Every weekday morning I have coffee in a small bar down the road. I’ve been going there for over a year. I meet the same people every morning. Those people have become my friends. And everyday without fail, I can’t wait to wake up and go to that bar at 8h30am. 

Often I do these things because they make me happy;

  • See my mom and call my dad
  • Watch MotoGP so I can scream for Brand Binder (not sure if he hears me but its important to me that I support him)
  • Write
  • Ride my bikes (all 3 of them – you can never have too many bikes)

For the same reason, I don’t spend money on a lot of things. But when I do buy stuff, I buy stuff that really makes me happy; like my coffee machine, and my motorbike.

In the end, it’s these things that make a life. It’s not the grandness; it’s your morning coffee, your sports team winning, the dish that your mama made, drinks with your buddies, the amazing sex at midnight, road tripping…

I love my work! I truly do. I feel privileged to do it. But outside of the grand ambitions I hold, it’s some of these small things that make my heart happy. 

4. Live a dream

What is it to be human? 

It is to hold a dream that is seemingly impossible and to follow it anyway. 

To be vulnerable enough to admit what you really want. And to wake up each day in pursuit of that dream, knowing that it will potentially break your heart, and to carry on regardless. 

Dreams do come true. We have to follow them. Most of all we have to allow for them. But they do come true. 

And when they do, you have to allow yourself to fully and absolutely enjoy it, knowing that its transient. 

This takes the utmost courage.

What is a dream you hold in your heart? What would you need to do differently in order to let it come to life? Or to experience it partly in some small way?

5. Do your best work

One of the best ways I’ve found to practice living is to do your best work everyday. 

I’m not talking about work. I’m talking about life. Do your best work. 

Your life is an expression. It’s fleeting. In the grand scheme of things you and me matter fuck all. We’re not even a speck in the universe. But our lives are an expression. 

It’s a chance to make a difference in your small way. 

Do you best work be someone that you’re proud of when no one else is watching.

When I was a kid, we always used to ask our headmaster if a task we were about to do was for marks. 

His answer was always the same;

It should not matter if what you do is for marks or not. Do it all the same. 

3 Life Lessons to Remember

Now that I’ve hopefully motivated you let me share a few of the life lessons I’ve found to be true. 

You will fuck it up

Haha the joy of being human! Just when you thing you’ve got things waxed, you will hit a curveball. Or rather life will throw you one. The road will get tough.

And you will fuck things up. You’ll make mistakes. They will hurt. 

As my father always says “dont worry, tomorrow is another chance to fuck it all up again”.

When I was younger I used to get offended by this. Now I know he’s the wisest man I know.

Don’t take things too seriously, you’ll get another chance to fuck it up tomorrow. 

People you haven’t met yet will change your life

Imagine if you knew that people you haven’t met yet, will change your life? How excited would you be?

Hold that thought because it’s true. 

One day you’ll be in some unimagined situation and a stranger will change your life, in some small or grand way. And you’ll just marvel at the wonder of life. 

When you’re going through tough times remember that.

Be grateful

I’m your picture perfect A-type kind of girl; always after the next thing. I have never taken time to be grateful. 

Until my dear friend passed away. And until another friend told me that she too has cancer. 

Now I recognise the immense gift that everyday is. Every day, and whatever it brings is the most massive of gifts.

Don’t let the magic pass unnoticed. If you’re reading this and you’re healthy, you’re winning!

Okay lovely Lisa, but now what?

The fine print, of life, doesn’t tell you that all of the above will take inner work.

You will have to be brave when you feel like you can’t.

It takes balls or ovaries of steel at times.

But it’s ok. Know that you’ve got this. You’ve got this!

It’s not over, til the fat lady sings

My dear friend, it’s never too late and it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. It means nothing is irreversible until the final act is played out. And this game, of life, is not over until your final day. 

I leave you with this song;

My best friend gave me the best advice

He said each day’s a gift and not a given right

Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind

And try to take the path less traveled by

That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day

and tomorrow was too late

Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?

Leave old pictures in the past

Donate every dime you have?

If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life

What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight

Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try

So live like you’ll never live it twice

Don’t take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day

and tomorrow was too late

Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?

Leave old pictures in the past

Donate every dime you have?

Would you call old friends you never see?

Reminisce of memories

Would you forgive your enemies?

Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?

Swear up and down to God above

That you finally fall in love

If today was your last day

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