Terminal days is a concept that encourages living in the now. As human beings, we are susceptible to falling ill and even losing our lives due to chronic conditions such as cancer. We are mortal beings who depend on our biological selves for life. As such, anything, including illnesses that negatively impact our health and well-being, could likely lead to disease and, in worse cases, fatality. The ‘terminal days’ concept encourages all of us to live like there is no tomorrow. It is quite a sensitive topic, so please bear with me.
What We’ll Discuss On This Article:
- Terminal Days
- Terminal Illness
- Life Expectancy
- Shorter Weeks
- The Future
Terminal illness refers to incurable diseases and those that have become regarded as fatal. Cancer is such an illness and a regrettable reality of modern life and modern living. As human beings, we depend on our physical or biological forms to exist in the world. We are individuals and people who are created biologically and depend on our wellbeing and health to be and to live. To lead a fulfilling life, therefore, one must be healthy, happy, and spiritual. However, in the unfortunate event that one gets diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness such as cancer, time becomes limited. Different places in the world have different life expectancies. In places like Europe, life expectancy could be around seventy to seventy-five years of age. Here in Africa, it could be maybe sixty or sixty-five years of age, and so on. Life expectancy varies in different countries, regions, and locations, due to the various factors influencing life in that particular part of the world.
Life expectancy is also significantly affected by the lifestyles of the people of a particular country or region. An excellent example is a food and dietary intake of that specific population. The west is more reliant on processed, packaged, and frozen food than here in Africa. It could be a disadvantage as those in the West, including those in the U.S, U.K, and Europe may become disadvantaged. On the other hand, Africans and those in food-producing regions of the world would become advantaged by the availability and quality of the food they consume. Consumerism is another factor and a part of a culture that directly influences health. Those that overly partake in junk food or unhealthy meals, including a lot of red meat, and the like, are also at a disadvantage as their eating habits may adversely influence their health outcomes.
Cancer is a lifestyle disease and beyond that, is one of the chronic illnesses that are more often than not, fatal. It is a pandemic of its own, and even as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to think about what can get done to cure cancer and do it as soon as possible. The current pandemic and lockdown have been exhausting and deadly, and we may get so into the moment that we lose perspective of the bigger picture. i.e., Curing and defeating chronic illnesses such as cancer and other types of terminal illness and viruses such as HIV/AIDS. Moreover, other diseases that are region-specific, including malaria and tuberculosis, which are prevalent in Africa, and others that affect all parts of the world, including diabetes, asthma, and obesity. By having a broader perspective of the various threats to human health and life, we can allow efforts and investment into long-term solutions for most illnesses—especially viruses and conditions that threaten the human species.
The ‘terminal days’ concept encourages us to live like we are suffering a terminal illness. When individuals are diagnosed with stage three or four cancer, they get told that they have several months or even a year to live. At this point, the individual is distraught and has to find ways to make their last days meaningful. We mostly think that we will lead long and healthy lives, and it is quite shocking to learn that it may not be the case. Health and long life are unguaranteed and are gifts from God. When individuals get a diagnosis for chronic disease and a probable timeline for their remaining days, they do all they can to fulfill their dreams, goals, and wants during that period. It is the period we are referring to as ‘terminal days.’ i.e., the several months one is told by their doctor that are remaining before their illness or chronic condition takes their life. Their efforts and activities during this period are carefully curated and geared towards drawing ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction. Some individuals will have a bucket-list or a list of things that they would like to do before they die and seek to fulfill all these items and cross them off on the list. Others will want to spend as much time as they can with their families and their loved ones. Terminal days are, therefore, crucial and significant days in one’s life.
We are all encouraged to have several days every week that we designate as terminal days. Even as healthy individuals, we need to have such days to ensure that one does not wait to lead a fulfilling and happy life out of being pushed to by a chronic condition or life-threatening disease. It encourages all of us to live as if we are dying as a way to push ourselves to lead a more fulfilling and satisfactory life. Terminal days are vital, and all of us should have a day, two, three, or four every week that are days where we choose to do the things that would make us feel most alive or those in our bucket-lists. The current pandemic and lockdown have indicated that even in the future, we may not all need to work from an office or formal setting.
With the advent of technology, telecommuting and working remotely have become realities and will transform the various ways people interact with workplaces. Even before COVID-19, some startups experimented with new and emergent forms of work and how employees interact with offices or office spaces. Employers have suffered immense losses as many of them had leased offices and work areas for their companies, which became unusable at the onset of the pandemic. Social distancing rules and regulations meant that employers and employees had to find alternative ways to achieve their goals and objectives and perform work outside office settings. Working from home has since become the norm, and even as more and more people return to the office, not everybody will want to or need to. Some employers have even pledged to discard a good chunk of their leased office space and encourage telecommuting or to work from home. The education sector has also had to adapt to being away from classes and in-class learning. It has led to innovation and the development of numerous solutions or the betterment of existing technological solutions geared towards collaboration and learning. More and more pupils and students are today relying on technology and online learning material to study and to collaborate with their peers in education.
The ‘terminal days’ concept encourages companies to shorten the working week into three or four days every week. Employers are encouraged to set clear targets that once the employee has achieved, they are free to spend the rest of the week as part of their terminal days. It means that if a salesperson is given a one hundred unit target and meets it by Wednesday of that week, they can spend Thursday and Friday doing something fulfilling and meaningful. It means that they are free, on meeting their targets, to spend the two days and even the weekend as part of their terminal days. In places where four-day workweeks have become experimented with, research indicates that employees are more productive and more satisfied with their jobs. The benefit for the employer is that the employees’ loyalty increases and employee turnover reduces. There are also reductions in costs as the employer does not need to cater for office space for all the employees the entire week. They can work in a rotational setting where employees can rotate between desks, conference rooms, and workspaces. It can be a use-as-available system for workspace and office space. It would also encourage employees to do their work as fast as it can be done and would increase overall efficiency. Employees would be discouraged to lag tasks and responsibilities and motivated to meet their targets, as soon as possible, to take the rest of the week off fromwork.
From an individual perspective, having terminal days could be what every one of us needs to lead a more fulfilling and satisfactory life. It would ensure that there is work-life balance, and as an individual, one has more time to spend with their families, loved ones, or taking part in a sport or activity of their choice. Psychologically and physiologically, such facilitation would have immense benefits in terms of health and mindfulness. Even in the current pandemic, we are encouraged to let go of the need to control the future. We have power over now, this moment, and we should focus our efforts on planning out the short term. It entails planning out our days and ensuring that we allow for rest and time for health and mindfulness, including undertaking an activity such as yoga or breathing exercises. According to the COVID-19 regulations of one’s hometown, they can also participate in outdoor activities, including jogging, rope-jumping, swimming, and generally exercising. Having terminal days would allow all of us the time to relax, undertake self-care, and pay attention to the things that matter in life. Unfortunately, modern living can lead one to become so lost in being busy and work that they may lack time to spend with family or even undertake self-care.
The ‘terminal days’ concept is one that I would encourage for everyone. Even having one day off the week to climb a mountain, visit the beach, build a motorcycle, or go dancing could be the difference between a healthy lifestyle and a tedious cycle of going from home to work and vice versa. We do not need to become terminally ill to realize the importance of having such days and taking some time to ourselves. Work is crucial, and the economy depends on hardworking citizens to ensure economic prosperity. However, rest, exercise, and relaxation are equally as important. Our bodies and minds flourish in an environment and schedule that is balanced and one that does not let work overpower rest or exercise. It can be a constant battle for the individual to find and strike this balance but totally worth the effort when they do. You can imagine living your best life while young, free, and healthy. We may not always have the ability to fight or prevent chronic diseases or even life-threatening situations, as the future is not guaranteed. We live by the Grace of God, and anything can happen. Even with situational awareness and ensuring personal security and mental health, life can get threatened by a myriad of factors. It is upon all of us to live in the now and not in the future.
We should all live our lives as best as possible. The future is not ours to worry about, and learning that we should only concern ourselves with what we can control could be life-changing. Allowing oneself to live a more meaningful, fulfilling, and satisfactory life would contribute to healthy living and mental health. When coupled with organic living, the individual can enjoy their experience while contributing to the likelihood of a long and healthy life. Nothing is guaranteed, however, and since God is the one who gives life, He can also take it, and we should always seek purpose and to fulfill the purpose that God has for us. As such, when one loses their life, or when they suffer a life-threatening condition or disease, they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they led their best life. Even with long life and a culture and lifestyle that caters to and includes terminal days, the individual in their old age will have a lot of fulfillment and joy in their hearts, knowing that they lived as best as possible. We should all avoid a sedentary lifestyle and endorse one that is active and fulfilling.
The hustle is important but should not curtail fulfillment and satisfaction. Money is good, but we cannot take it with us when we die, and it is upon all of us to live as meaningful lives as possible even as we chase success. We should also learn to help others and assist others in leading more fulfilling and meaningful lives. We should support the elderly, the sick, those with disabilities, and even the homeless to lead more satisfactory and fulfilling lives. Instead of spending your terminal day playing golf somewhere, gather your friends and pool some money together for a good cause. Even in the current pandemic, your efforts towards helping others could go a long way in ensuring that we all get through the situation and defeat COVID-19. The pandemic is one of the numerous occurrences and unexpected events that are likely to happen during this century and our lifetimes. As an individual, having terminal days would ensure that whatever happens, you have lived your life. I am not saying you should take advantage of your health and partake in alcohol or drugs, no. Find something meaningful, good, and fulfilling that you can do on a day or two every week to build on your life satisfaction. Such an activity can be going to church, helping at a soup kitchen, playing a sport, attending a support group, and assisting others in defeating addiction and fighting anxiety, visiting the sick, among others. These and many other meaningful activities could help you enjoy your life more and have an impact on the world.
The world needs your light. We all depend on each other to live our lives as best as we can. You can imagine a city without cobblers and all the shoes that would get thrown away in a year. A city without taxi drivers or public transport would be distraught, and there would be a lot of air pollution out of everybody using their own cars. A city without restaurants would be socially underwhelming, and people would lack places to sit, talk, enjoy a meal, and so on. The world is an unpredictable place. We all need each other, and we all need and seek more fulfilling and meaningful lives. We are all also at risk of falling ill or being diagnosed with a chronic illness such as cancer, and before something like that unfortunately happens, we can all seek to live more and live better. Terminal days would allow all of us that opportunity. Even without leading a luxurious life, one can still achieve happiness and spend a good amount of their life doing something that brings them joy. As such, take a day off work or your daily routine to go out and to live. Interact with nature, imbibe on some literature, enticing food, or spend time creating designs. Your life is yours to live, so live it.
Life is short, and tomorrow is unguaranteed. Do not wait to start your career or business next year. Do not wait to be happy when the pandemic ends. It may never end, sorry to say, and maybe it is time that we all learn to live with COVID-19. We may hold our breaths for too long waiting for the pandemic and lockdown to end, and it becomes an on-and-off thing or here to stay. Maybe we should think of COVID-19 as any other disease such as malaria, and learn to live our lives despite its existence. Possibly there won’t be a vaccine, sorry to say, and we all need to accept that there may not be. We should accept social distancing rules, wear facemasks and face coverings, use hand sanitizers, and frequent handwashing to protect against infection. Such measures could be the reality of the next decades of human life, and instead of wishing they are not, we need to endorse such caution to protect ourselves even in the future. There could be other pandemics on the way and learning to live like there is no tomorrow could be the way to go. We all need terminal days just to live, without worry or fear, and pursue happiness and fulfillment.
The future is such a massive unknown, and maybe we should live independently of it. Perhaps we should concern ourselves with the short term and slowly move away from making long term plans and goals. We need to acquire a new perspective on life as a way to figure out new ways to live and to deal with twenty-first-century living. We are only twenty years in this century, and maybe we have no idea what a future of climate change will be like. Even as we remain hopeful, we should undertake efforts to mitigate climate change and lead fulfilling lives. The climate crisis is already showing signs of worsening, as seen in wildfires, hurricanes, and floods. It is upon all of us, therefore, to not depend so much on future climate consciousness and mitigation efforts and act now. We should all be doing our part now, and we should all move away from practices that increase our carbon footprints and propagate the climate crisis. A good chunk of our terminal days should get occupied by caring for the environment and environmental conservation efforts. We can also educate ourselves and others on organic living and the positive effects on our health, lifestyles, and the environment. Organic living may just be the solution we need to fight and defeat chronic illnesses such as cancer. Terminal days are crucial, and all of us should allow ourselves the opportunity to enjoy our lives and to be a positive impact on the world.