Life Is Short

In Life Is Short, Most Popular, Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons by David291 Comments

This isn’t really one of those helpful photographic posts, so if you’re jonesin’ for info on what gear I’m packing for New Zealand, you might want to just kind of move along 🙂 But I’m bursting to say these things, and I’m hoping someone out there needs to hear. I do.

As some of you know there’s some big changes coming down the pipe for me and I’ll give you a full report as soon as I can. I’ve fought the urge to make these changes for a while now and something finally cracked.

I had breakfast with a close friend of mine yesterday and it’s that meeting that is making me write this, because I can’t keep it in this morning. His wife, one of my favourite people on the planet, is fighting for her life against inoperable brain cancer. She’s fighting, but she’s not well, and the doctors are talking in terms of quality of life, not healing, not remission. My heart is breaking for her. My heart is breaking for him. A young couple that, like all of us, thinks they have forever together, have all the time in the world to chase their dreams. But we don’t. None of us do. It’s an illusion.

Life is short. We seem to think that we’ll live forever. We spend time and money as though we’ll always be here. We buy shiny things as though they matter and are worth the debt and stress of attachment. We put off the so-called “trip of a lifetime” for another year, because we all assume we have another year. We don’t tell the ones we love how much we love them often enough because we assume there’s always tomorrow. And we fear. Oh, do we fear. We stick it out in miserable jobs and situations because we’re afraid of the risk of stepping out. We don’t reach high enough or far enough because we’re worried we’ll fail, forgetting – or never realizing – that it’s better to fail spectacularly while reaching for the stars than it is to succeed at something we never really wanted in the first place.

A woman emailed earlier this year. Her husband, the love of her life, was a fan of mine and he’d just come through a tough fight with Leukemia. She asked if I’d take some time with him, go shooting with him if he came to Vancouver, sort of as a celebration of his recovery. I said yes, of course, how could I not. But I was busy, about to travel, and could we do it in a couple months when summer rolled around and I had time to host him. Of course. Let’s talk soon. I got back two months later and sent an email saying, let’s make it happen! And 5 minutes later got a reply telling me the leukemia had returned with speed and fury and within days he’d gone. Even now, I’m writing this with tears, though anyone that knows me knows it doesn’t take much.

We think we’ve got forever and that these concerns that weigh us down are so pressing. We worry about the trivial to the neglect of the most precious thing we have: moments we’ll never see again. We talk of killing time, passing time, and getting through the week, forgetting we’re wishing away the moments that comprise our lives. We say time is money when in fact the time we have is ALL we have. Money can be borrowed, time can’t. We fear taking risks, unaware that the biggest risk we run in playing it safe is in fact living as long as we hope and never doing the things we dreamed of. And then it’s too late. We watched our favourite TV shows, we fought a losing battle with our weight, we picked up the guitar once in a while and never quite finished the french language courses we wanted to do. We managed to get a large flatscreen and new cars once in a while, but the list of things we’d have done if we could really, truly could have done anything, kept growing. And we never did them.

I don’t know how to wrap this up. There’s no resolution. I was in Sarajevo last week thinking about all this; I’d be walking the old city thinking how amazing it was, looking into the hills that surround it. And then it occurred to me, just over 15 years ago the citizen of Sarajevo that stood in this spot was likely to be hit by mortar shells or sniper fire. We’re all terminal folks. We’re all in the sniper scope. We’ve got less time that we think. For every ten people that email me and say, “I wish I could do what you’re doing. I wish I could follow my dreams, I wish, I wish…,” I wonder if even one moves forward. I hope so.

Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen. Your kids can come with you. Your job can wait. You can find someone to feed the cat. I know, I know, there are so many reasons we can’t and some of those reasons are valid. Life is not only short, it is also sometimes profoundly hard. But I think sometimes our reasons are in fact only excuses. If that’s the case, take stock. I talk alot about living the dream, and I’m an idealist, I know it. But it’s not self-help, positive-thinking, wish-upon-a-star. It’s the realization that life is short and no one is going to live my life on my behalf. And one day soon – because it’ll seem that way, I know it – my candle will burn out; I want it to burn hot and bright while it’s still lit. I want it to light fires and set others ablaze.

Life is short. Live it now. And live it with all your strength and passion now. Don’t keep it in reserve against a day you might not have. While the ember is still lit, fan it to flame. Be bold about it, even if your circumstances mean all you have is to love boldly and laugh boldy. Because now is all we have, and these dreams won’t chase themselves.

End of sermon, thanks for listening. I just kind of needed to get it out there. It wasn’t the point of this but if you’re the praying type, send some mojo out for my friend and his wife. God knows who they are. 🙂

PS. If this post has moved you in some way, why not nail your colours to the mask. Read my subsequent post HERE.


  1. This post has deeply moved me ever since you wrote it in 2010. I try to revisit it at least annually.

    To me, it is especially vital now, living as we do in the time of Covid-19. I want to find a way to follow your guidance, even now. Especially now. We will not all survive this; how do we make the best of everything, all things considered? Only time will tell. But I do not intend to rest by the wayside until it passes; there must be something more I can do. Your words and inspiration will help me find my way.

    Be well and thank you for everything you post!

  2. It’s amazing to visit this web page and reading the views of all friends on the
    topic of this post, while I am also eager of getting knowledge.

  3. I do agree with your nice sentences.
    Lets try for life in order to obtain our logical dreams , but if we trust on our kind GOD who is aware of future , we will not be depress if we fail . GOD is our creator . As you know no one can lead his creature in the best way , except the owner .So by believing in GOD beside TRYING we have to abandon hopeless and negative energy . GOD KNOWS WHAT IS OUR EXPEDIENT.

  4. I have sent this comment from Iran.
    I wish you would obtain your dreams which are the same as me
    best wishes

  5. This is the most touching sytory ever. I hope oneday I can follow my dreams and live my life and fellow my dreaems. Thanks david.

  6. I’m really satisfied i came across this particular inside my seek for a really essential factor relating to this.

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  8. Author

    Seize it, Sarah. Milk the courage you have now for all it’s worth. Celebrate the all-clear report but don’t ever forget that we’re all terminal. We’ve all got so little time to enjoy so much life. 🙂

  9. Just been for a scan for an ovarian tumour and it’s clear. Have been doing deals with God. Wondering what the hell I have been doing with my life until now.
    Life is short.
    Have printed out your post and stuck it above my desk in case I ever, ever forget my prayers were answered.

  10. Dear David,

    This morning I heard a work colleague passed away rather suddenly, and I realised how fragile our lives are, I wanted to let you know how appropriate you blog has been, thank you…

    I am sending bit of it to my family, I really hope that I will be able to make the changes needed in my life…

  11. This is wonderful. Life is really very short. My prayer is that God should help us remember that always.

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  13. Thanks David! I was in a doubtful state for the last few years, thinking of what to do with my life, my loved ones, my family. Your writing inspired me a lot to take the decision that I needed to! The time is running out and it should not be wasted! Truly life is short, it’s very short indeed! Thanks for those true and inspirational words!

  14. extremely true ,i used to worry a lot a lot about things in life even smaller ones extremely beyond limits and make it miserable thinking what i ve done in the past and be depressed for months and weeks together!! im 19 yr old and dis is the core part of my life,henceforth i will remember this always ,”Life is short ,very short” and make the best of each and every moment therein…….ALSO MY FRIENDS PLZZ DO SUGGEST ME WAYS TO LIVE MY LIFE…….

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  19. That moved me trememdously and it is a great post. i agree, sorry about your friend and his wife, i mean, sometimes tragedies occur and they could be gosh darn devastating, however, unfortunately even if you’re a doctor sometimes they’re just incurable and there’s nothing you could do, i mean, look, the fact is i’m just a person just like everyone else, you’ve received a plethora of replies but the fact is words can’t bring the dead, i understand why you wrote everything about that life stuff, you just wanted to get you’re emotions out to the world, you know, life is just capricious and everything that happens is totally random and that’s why our future remains a mystery and nobody knows what it holds, me too, as a matter of fact, i live in the moment, i have great appreciation for life regardless of the circumstances i live in because i’m still alive nevertheless and someday i will have the chance to become somebody, now, i’ve got to tell you something, many people pass away sometimes very young and you ask yourself why, it’s so unfair, i mean, if god exists why would he take them at suck a young age, right, the reason is because he doesn’t exist, now, i don’t know if you agree but there’s certainly lots of people who are atheists and they have a good reason to be doubters full blast, life is short, i hope my words will be tremedously comforting and therapeutic and helpful, you know, that poem the road not taken, well, there will be bumps and obstacles and problems and sometimes contentment but you got to explore the world and do many things because you’ve got to use your time effectively and wonderfully because at the end of the day it’s not the years in your life that matter but it’s the life in your years, now, think about it, living in the now is very good and down to earth, i like it, life is life, man, nobody can tell you anything better, i read everything you wrote and every word is inspirational, it’s actually depressing, to be honest with you, you made me cry as well, your a good man, live life to the fulllest and be a winner, you got to believe in yourself and do it, because words won’t make a difference and finally i just want to say in conclusion, i think that you actually changed my way of thinking about life because i’m a teenager and i really know how it feels like to lose a friend or family member of a young age because it never happened to me and i’m grateful and joyful for that but somehow i know exactly what if it must feel like, it’s terrible and heart-wrenching, it’s indescribable, it makes everyone glum when someone who love or care about suddenly dies, farewell and may time serve you

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  22. i am here with tears in my eyes david.. bless u.. thank u for this post.. i needed it..

  23. i am here with tears in my eyes david.. bless u.. thank u for this post.. i needed it

  24. Thank you for this! How short life truly is something that I think of often. I am 26, and have had 2 “trips of a lifetime” so far, and I’m hoping for many more to come. The reason I am writing this now, is today, my grandmother passed away at 80 years old, and as I’m thinking of how wonderful a person she was and the love she gave to her family, and I can’t help think about how quickly my 26 years have gone by, and if I am lucky enough to make it to 80 years, how quickly that day will come. I’m just trying to enjoy every moment I have while I can.

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  26. Thanks for this post!!
    I will not have more “reasons” or “excuses and I will live my dream and travel to Cuba this year!!! 🙂

  27. My friend you are right. Life is short. We should enjoy it as much as possible before the flame on the candle vanish. Thank you for sharing a beautiful piece!

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  30. That’s a really touching post. Recently I lost both my parents and I can resonate with some of the feelings posted here. There times when I wish time stopped and I can spend an eternity in that moment. But as the saying goes “Time and tide waits for no one”…one needs to live in the moment and savor it.

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  33. David,
    Looks like you’ve really started something here. Many people talk like this, but its encouraging to see you actually doing it! I look forward to hearing more about it on the savannah in january. — ryan

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  35. I come to post my colors here among you who call this site one of their homes. I am a survivor. 7.5 years ago my world underwent a dramatic shift when I was diagnosed with cancer … stage 3 … with 2 young children. It was an incredible walk and I learned sooo much! God was merciful, faithful, my redeemer and healer. He was tangible … and it was something life changing for many people.

    Today I am delving into my passion and branching out into the professional world of photography. I feel like a caterpillar getting ready to emerge from my chrysalis! For too long, I lived my post cancer life looking in the rearview mirror so to speak …watching and waiting for cancer to rear its head. But … no more! Today I walk forward … a light … an example … a survivor … a child of God.

    Today I vow to embrace and accept myself .. to take chances … to simplify and let go of things that bind me to the mundane … to live more and worry less … to embrace each and every day as an adventure … a moment to be be cherished, celebrated, and lived.

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  38. Ah, thank you, THANK YOU for the reminder of this sweet life.
    Peace and great joy as you make your way…..

  39. Thank you for this post. A friend sent it to me. I’m glad she did. My husband and I are going to live our dream out over the next year of learning to live lighter on the earth…getting rid of old habits, creating new ones, in a bold experiment we’ve never tried before. Thank you for encouraging us!

  40. What a beautiful and poignant post! Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry that you and your loved ones are suffering, and wish everyone as much peace and happiness as possible. As someone who left home behind to travel and experience new things, your message is also near and dear to my heart. I’m going to share it with my readers, and I wish you the best on your upcoming adventures.

  41. David,
    Thanks for your timely post. I have taken time away from your blog (and a few others I would read daily) to work on my photography without trying to imitate things that I had seen. In retirement life has been good, but I do waste quite a bit of time. Your words come as a reminder to me to keep working diligently on both my inner and outer journey.
    Grace and peace,

  42. Thank you so much for this post. When something is this honest and inspiring, it’s very hard to come away from it without being moved.

  43. I can only concur with the above.. I do hope, like everyone else that you and your friends find peace in this very difficult time.

  44. Very well said David. I think we all need a reminder from time to time. I’ll definitely mark this for a re-read too. My prayers go out to your friends that they might find strength in this most difficult time.

  45. David, praying for your friends , these are trying times and time … you are right…”now” is of essense. So every day i talk to my mum for an hour. no point crying over her grave once she goes, i can only pray she lives long enough to pass on the high moral values she tried imparting me to my kids… but i know as Hinduism coins the term “shan-bhangur” or worthy of annhilation in seconds, we are such creatures…so every day after my first cuppa , i call my mum, talk shop, soak in her surroundings though the phone and celeberate her. i am married, have a hubby, love him too…but i know my longer than i know him..and i am coz she is….

  46. A touching post, David. Thought provoking for both right and left brains… I’m deeply touched by the response of the Community – I’m connecting with a real sense of humanity and an outpouring of love here. Thanks for posting!

  47. My heart is with your friends. I am trying to grasp something of that instinct—that is, the instinct to be together, to comfort another with words, with silence, with gestures…it’s a real thing, and it’s beautiful. You’ve demonstrated the reality of this in this post. Your post truly moved me and I will carry this message with me throughout the day…and I will silently hold vigil with your friend and his wife as they move through this difficult time.

    You also said:

    “And one day soon – because it’ll seem that way, I know it – my candle will burn out; I want it to burn hot and bright while it’s still lit. I want it to light fires and set others ablaze.”

    And all I can say to that is…Amen.

  48. In the closing pages of Walden, Thoreau leaves us with this eloquent challenge and vision:

    The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?

    We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. . . .

    Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.

  49. “Life is short, don’t waste time worrying about what people think of you Hold on to the ones that care, in the end they will be the only ones there.”

  50. excelente post, para no sólo leerlo si no también para reflexionarlo, vivirlo y releerlo. la mayoría de las veces creemos que las situaciones de enfermedad o tragedias son exclusivas de “los otros”.
    La oración siempre será curativa.

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  52. My father recently passed away from cancer, and he also had a brain tumor. I certainly regret missing opportunities to have done more together. You only realize how short life is when you see the end.

    After my father’s death, I made a slideshow to remember. I quickly realized that the slides I was looking for photographs to remember HIM. Postcard pictures, beautiful landscapes, interesting scenes didn’t make the cut; but pictures that captured an emotion, a moment in time, no matter what the quality, are the ones I saved to remember him.

  53. oh, I think you are making people think about the most important things in life, you encourage them to take ” a risk” of being themselves, to make their dreams come true. I am convinced your experience of life- before making from photography your life-way-is precious. But to share it with people all over the world, to devote your time to others is really something! your text is sooooo moving and the words: “Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen” will hopefully help many people to make their lives happy and full of freedom 🙂 Thank you for this 🙂

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  55. I am a fan of Ur. Workshops and Photography. We here pray for Ur friend and his wife. Being a follower of Nichiren Daishonin”s Buddhism, I pray. Nam Myoho Renge kyo!! for World Peace and Happiness!!

  56. Pingback: iPhone Friday – The Challenge Begins | Light As Magic

    A New Message From VERONICA
    Walking A New Path
         “Many times we have encountered those in the linear who are tired of walking down familiar paths.  They are often ones where the outcome is predictable and the energy ever devolving into greater negativity.
         Physical life is full of opportunity to change direction.  One has to be full of courage to do so.  A belief system in your ability to choose is also needed.
         Whatever has occurred you do have the ability to change it.  All of the drama surrounding the change may appear to be difficult but only if you enable it to do so. The confusion arises when allowing inappropriate drama to continue.  It begins to feel very commonplace.  Those in that energy space usually feel unable to change their course.
         Spirit will assist you in your quest to walk a new path.  Feeling like a victim of circumstance only enables the negativity to stay.
         Choose to change direction.
         At first it may feel awkward or lonely.  However, put one foot in front of the other as you walk the new path.
         Your soul will accompany you on the journey.
         A new path is a new life which brings the probability of happiness and connection.
         Take the first step.”

    My Mom sent me this message the other day from a medium she follows online & I thought it helpful to me since I want to make a change in my life & so I wanted to share it with others looking to make changes. I am going on the Antarctica 2011 trip and look forward to meeting you David.

    Liz J

  58. My first visit here… I’ve read this several times and it’s beautiful. Really. I’ve posted it on fb and read it to friends who’ve visited my house. The lump in my throat comes every time I read it. Why is it so easy to go through the motions? I hate it. This encourages me more and more. Thank you friend for sharing your heart. You are a light. Xoxo

  59. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…inspiring message that we all hear every so often and don’t remember often enough! My brother is in the fight of his life, along with his wife and two young daughters…lymphoma…so this strikes close to home. Yesterday may be a fond memory, but it is past…we might dream about tomorrow, but it may never come…make today a great day!

  60. Dear David,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world and motivating us into action. This post is like pouring water to a dormant seed. The seed of our dreams, hopes and passions that many of us bury away as life gets in the way.

    Like all of the others above I agree one hundred percent with what you say. The past is but a memory, the future is just an illusion. The one real thing is the present. We spend far too much time dwelling on the past or dreaming of a future, forgetting to live life at present.

    David my thoughts are with your friend and his wife.

  61. Hmmm. I read this post sitting in the kitchen of my mother in laws house – who, a mere four weeks ago was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Three weeks ago she had surgery to debulk it, two weeks ago we had the diagnosis that its malignant, and the most aggressive tumour that the surgeon has ever seen in his 15 year career, and that she’s got anywhere between two days and three weeks to live. We’ve bought her home here so she can see out her last few days surrounded by friends and family on her families farm. Each day we wonder if today is the day.

    Shes 56.

    Live is short. And sometimes – you have no idea until its too late exactly how short it is.

    I somehow feel that my reply to your post David a mere two months ago to your introspective post from Kathmandu about purpose was a portent of things to come…

  62. Wow. My thoughts and good wishes are with your friend and his wife. We all need to be reminded every now and then … that time is really the only thing we have. We can’t take anything with us except the love we share with family and friends and the memories and experiences we have with them. Thank you for posting this.

  63. My husband emailed me this link today and in his email he said “take the time and read it”. We are always talking about how busy we are and have no time for ourselves because we put work first. We do not have children which would seem like we would have even more time to do for ourselves but we don’t.
    I want to thank you for writing this and helping others to see – including myself, how important living your life to the fullest really is.
    You and your friends are in my thoughts and prayers.
    warm regards,

  64. Pingback: Der Mann, der uns das Photographieren lehrte | Wolfgang Lonien

  65. Excuse me for hijacking the thread a little bit, but: @Martin Joergensen: Are you the same guy who did those wonderful “on location” from Denmark at Nikonians ?

  66. I am so glad to hear someone else who thinks like me. I was refered to you by facebook, and I am adding you to my favorites. LIVE life! I preach this everyday! Thank you for so eloquently putting the english language to use on this subject!

    Cheers to a likable soul.

  67. David,

    My husband Stuart said I really needed to read your post. He was right. You had me at..”But I’m bursting to say these things, and I’m hoping someone out there needs to hear. I do”

    Being an Oncology nurse, your words went straight to my heart. Dying is a real eye opener to life. Sharing your experience with others will most certainly help many people understand how fragile and short life really is. It really made me think about it.

    I have always imagined that “wishing for the weekend to hurry up and get here” Is just wishing your life away. You so passionately put this thought into words.

    Taking the time and giving emotional support to your friends who are grieving is the single most unselfish thing you can do. it is so appreciated and will never be forgotten… But the best thing is it is free!

    Your post is so powerful that the job market may have many openings as people will be quitting to chase their dreams!! Lol.

    Thank-you David for putting yourself out there to write about such an emotional and important topic. I pray for peace and comfort to your friends but also to you during this chapter in your life.

  68. David,

    This being the 207th or so comment it might not have a big impact or add much new to your observations and those in all the above comments, but anyhow: I was certainly touched by your post — on a very direct and personal level, actually.
    I have been a very active outdoors person (biologist, photographer, journalist and avid fly fisher) for many years, and have always been scooting around like a fly in a bottle, and never thought the least of it.

    But a few years back I suddenly lost feeling in my lower legs and feet, and over a period of a few months it became bad enough for me to be hospitalized. I was diagnosed with MS and since then my life changed drastically. I have lost almost all feeling and control of my legs. I can walk with a cane and still get around, but it’s a far cry from my previous trekking, fishing, shooting life!

    I am 51 now and luckily I have been around a lot. Traveled the world and experienced amazing things, been very active writing, publishing, podcasting and whatnot.

    Even though I’m still as active as I can be, I have a very clear limit now, and I have climbed my last rock, defeated my last mountain, walked my last 10 mile walk and many other things. I still travel, fish, shoot and try to be out as much as I can, but there is a very physical limit.

    The morale? Well, simply put: just do it!

    If you have plans for your life, do NOT postpone them until you have: time, money, energy or whatever other excuses you can muster.
    You never know what tomorrow or next year brings.



  69. I work as a general surgeon. Many years ago I had a patient come to me with metastatic melanoma. I sat down with him and his wife and explained the diagnosis. It was a death sentence and there was no way to candy coat that. If you could shoot the messenger, I can assure you the wife would have done so.
    I dove home with a heavy heart that day. The wife’s words about all the things they had planned to do, kept repeating in my mind. After a while, I wondered why they didn’t do some of them aready.
    When I walked into the house, the first thing I said to my wife was, “let’s go to Australia.” We both wanted to do it as a “someday” even. Now I realized that “someday” may never come. All we have is today. We have to make of it the most we can.
    Well, we went to Australia. It is the highpoint of our lives together and we speak of it often and fondly. We have traveled to many other destinations and are working our way thur a list of things we want to do. We will never be able to do them all, but when I stand in front of St. Peter on my appionted day, I want to be able to say, “I did all I could and I don’t have any regret .”
    I have found in life, I more often regret the things I did not do, than the things I did. If it is important to you, do it today. Don’t put off a phone call to an old friend, a trip, taking up a new hobby, or telling someone you love them. You may regret the time you did not take the oportunity more then you may know.

  70. David, thank you for this post. I’m so glad I found it right now, just after returning from an inspiring, long-overdue vacation and wondering how to avoid going back on autopilot. I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s important? And what’s the point? To me, the point is to live an interesting, creative life filled with love. I want to be continually inspired and I’d be thrilled if my work had that effect on others. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  71. I know how you feel, David. In august, my wife received the diagnose: breast cancer … She is quite young, 31 years old, we have four kids, so naturally this was a hard one …. on top of that, the tumor i very large, so she’ll need to have 8 (eight) Kemo treatments, before the operation. On wednesday next week, it will be no 5 …
    We have good days, and bad days. I’ve not been photographing so much the last couple of month’s , the daily routines takes up most of my time ..
    But we have high hopes for the future, it seems that the cancer has not spread to other parts of her body, yet !!
    We hope

  72. This box isn’t enough to say everything I want to say but here’s a snippet. Three little words – Life’s too short. What you say resonates so true with me. I am a cirrhosis sufferer in holding pattern – not getting worse & not getting better. I was at a presentation at our support group recently and there were some personal story speakers there. I looked around the room and I see all these sufferers. I realise that over half of them may be dead within a few years yet there was not one person there who was negative. The sheer enjoyment that everyone there has for life was palpable. All they wanted was an extension a transplant would give but they weren’t going to die quietly. Each of them were following Dylan Thomas’ great words –
    “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

  73. I love you, David (platonically, of course!). Your work, your blog and your spiritual ‘compass’ continues to inspire me and others. I stop here every morning for my mug o’ Dave.

    Thanks for keeping it real. Safe travels, and thanks for the reminder to live boldly.

  74. Thank you David – what a wonderful Blog! I wish you much happiness in your newest Adventure.
    Life surely is an adventure and you are fortunate that you have been able to come to the realization before age creeps up on you. Go for it and have a wonderful life. God Bless you and your friends.

  75. Isn’t it interesting that you were “bursting to say these things, and I’m hoping someone out there needs to hear” and someone was? This came to me via a link from Facebook. It was a very good read and it reinforces my desire to see and do everything there is to see and do before I move on.I am sorry for those that have lost someone in your story but grateful for the lesson their experience offers.

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  78. Hello – I am sure with all your replies you won’t have time to read them all, but that’s ok. I wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful post – I just buried my best friend yesterday. She was 45, and fought a very tough and long battle with ALS and dementia – she leaves a wonderful husband and two young children. And me. A best friend – she was the most fun and ALIVE person you could want to know- with a loud booming southern accent and a fantastic laugh. She was my college roommate, we both grew up in Orlando and decided to hit the big city after college and we drove to boston packed to the gills in my little corolla. It was the adventure of a lifetime for us as we made many stops along the way and had lots of laughs. We both settled in the area, married and had kids. We stayed close. 3 years ago came the awful diagnoses. I wished I could fix it, I wished it away – I prayed like never before. But it was not to be – it was her time. After about 5 years of marriage for both of us – we tossed around the idea of going to Vegas to celebrate – what fun that would have been. But we opted to wait until the kids got older. Now we will never get to go. So yeah – go grab life by the horns. Now.

    I am also about to move my mother up here to live with me – she was diagnosed this summer with Alzheimers and had a stroke in August – I am looking forward to spending time with her. See, my mom and I never got along and I am taking this opportunity to care for her and make her last years comfortable. I will still grab life by the horns, I will still make time for my family. But I will also cherish the time left with my mother.

    Thank you again for such a great post – and I will leave you with the words my father said before he passed away 4 years ago at the age of 91. “I have no regrets, I lived a wonderful life, I did what I wanted to do and I did it surrounded by those I loved”

    That is how I want to live.

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  80. I started crying while reading this. So powerful and so true. Life is too short and I think we need to be reminded of how precious it is every single day. Thank you!

  81. Its been said so many times already in these comments but I have to say thank you … For this post, for the work you do, for what you inspire in me. As I think of & pray for your friends and all who’ve talked about lost loved ones, I can only think of Psalm 91. That is my prayer for all of us as we go out & seek our own amazing life.

  82. I have only just found your blog and am glad I did.
    What you say is too true, most of us procrastinate in one way or another. I am as guilty as anyone else, yet guilt is an unhealthy bedfellow.
    Whenever I hear the words I would but … danger bells ring in my ears. It is inevitably followed byI must do this or that first …

    There is only one must in life, we must all sooner or later die, nothing else, all else is our own choice.
    Last winter I was twice heading through those pearly gates and was twice miraculously sent bak although I was quite ready to go. Since then I have experience the desert in bloom as it so seldom happens (less often than once every 20 years) and picked up my paintbrushes again that have lain idle for 28 years.
    Life presents us with wonders every day, we just need to learn to see them.

    PS I have swallows nesting in the shed that will be my studio so work on it has been suspended until they fledge. Meanwhile I paint outside.

  83. David, your post is truly inspiring and is made even more profound by the endless number of comments from people who have been moved by it. How many people here said they know someone who’s life ended too soon? Or who admit they have not followed their dreams? I am one of those people too, but trying to make a change. And it is scary. But I think you’re right, what is more scary is not making the change. Thank you

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  86. David

    I have admired you as a photographer…Now I admire you completely. My family is dealing with a terminal brain cancer sufferer and the strife associated with making unpleasant decisions. Thank you for this post – it will remain with me whenever there is a need to put things in perspective.

    Regards from the southern edge of Africa.

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  88. My heart is with your friends. I lost my husband, soul mate and best friend 2 years ago to a year long battle with cancer. It was the most heart wrenching thing to witness and it was the most important thing I will probably ever do. I stayed home with him for most of the year. I took care of him and it was the hardest thing I will ever do. I got the time you speak of, with him.
    We don’t realize until it’s too late what we have missed in life. We had thoughts of retirement, travel and photography but we really never got the chance or should I say we didn’t take it while we had it. I too heard the quality of life speach with my husband. I hope your friends can enjoy what time they have left together. I cherished those days. They weren’t easy, they weren’t fun but they were what we got and we made the best of it.

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  90. May the mercy and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with your friends during this time.

    I myself have been responding to some rather large life-changers in my own life. Three years ago I had a decent paying job, a house and a collection of mounting medical debt that was proving resistant to getting paid off. Then the economy did what it did in the U.S. Today, I have a lower-paying (but more satisfying) job working with teen addicts, a rented apartment in a crummy part of town and a bankruptcy packet that is being filed this week. But I also have a camera and a dream. Now my thoughts are centered around moving that ‘dream’ from intangible point of hope to a very real bringer of joy and (hopefully) income. Progress is slow (because, well, life is still life – and life loves it’s roadblocks!) but the outlook is grand.

    David, your teachings and the sharing of your life experiences have become a cherished source of motivation and knowledge with which to forge my new existence in this world. Knowing that you, too, have been through bankruptcy, and have come out smarter, stronger, faster is a real encouragement to me. I believe the Lord works all things for the glory of His will, and your presence in my life, right when I need it, confirms this. Thanks so much for being a Kicker of Darkness and Lover of Light, my friend.


  91. David, just sent you some important links by email to your personal address – please send them to your friends, it might help!

    And for you . .

    THAT blog post is why you have so many fans my friend! You shoot and speak with your heart and are 100% authentic and it comes through in your images and your words. Keep being who you are.

  92. I moved to the otherside of the world to live my dream life – every day I count my blessings. Friends and family may be far away and I miss them all terribly but I had to live my life, my way. It’s the only one I’ve got. I came to realise this in a similar way you have – it was through my grief of losing people I cared about that made me want to step up and grab life. It was my way to honour how knowing them made me a better person.

    I hope medicine, love and the force of life bring the best to your friend and his wife.

  93. Wow! The best blog ever. This reminds me of a saying I read earlier this week that also really struck home hard. “Death is the dark side of the mirror that reflects life.” And I realized that without being aware of potential losses, we would not value life so highly and our drive to live to the fullest would be meaningless.

  94. Hi David,

    Thank you for writing this. I really needed to hear this today. I hope that your friend can prove the doctors wrong and recover. The story about the woman who contacted you is truly heartbreaking and really brings home the point that there might not be a tomorrow.

    What you said in this post, deep down, we all know it, but we often choose to put things off for tomorrow, next month, next year. As someone who is blessed to have survived the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this year, this post really hits home. The thousands who perished also thought they had tomorrow. But, you just never know.

  95. Amazing – thanks for reminding us how precious life is. I try not to take it for granted given my own personal experience. It’s good to remind us all to live life and appreciate every moment we have on this earth and with our loved ones. Thanks again for this incredible posting.
    Hope you’re doing well and take care.

    Seattle, WA

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  99. Thank you for writing exactly what I needed to read.
    I will keep your friend and his wife in my prayers.
    And I will pass this post on to others.

  100. Whenever as a child or a teenager I would lament about wanting to do something, saying I wish I could do this or that. My father would recite a bit of a proverb or nursery rhyme he learnt as a child. It was lost on me until I became an adult.

    “If wishes were horses
    Beggars would ride:
    If turnips were watches
    I would wear one by my side.
    And if ifs and ans were pots and pans,
    The tinker would never work”

    In short wishing gets us nowhere, taking action no matter how small it maybe generates other actions that move us closer to living our dream. The trick is to maintain the momentum.

  101. Sometimes it is hard to keep thinking this way. Like you say, life is hard and sometimes holding on can take up most of your strength. It’s sad to think that it takes a major incident, such as your friend, to start this life altering process. I had a stroke at the age of 25. It was minor, and ironically, I counted myself lucky that I came away from it mostly unscathed. The biggest scar is the emotional one. It becomes almost easy to ‘live to the fullest’ when something like this happens to you, you feel the brush of immortality – and then sadly it fades. It’s now 2 years and 5 very minor strokes later, and every day I live with fear that next time, I may not be so lucky. It’s this fear that reminds me that I am alive – turn the negative into a positive. Beautiful writing David… And my thoughts are with you and your friends. X

  102. David,
    I have been your fan for the longest time. Thanks for writing this post. It really resonates with my current thought process and I thank you for this inspiring post. All the best to your friend. She will be in our thoughts!

  103. More amazing layers, David. This is why I follow your blog and read your books.
    What you say is true, honest, real. Thanks for the reminder. Just had a meeting with my womens’ group on the island about this very thing. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!

  104. Hello David, This is the first I’ve read of your blog, what a lovely way to start my day. All the best to your friend who is ill will say my prayers. Have a great great day.

  105. David, I was just going to pass this by on a post on facebook, instead I clicked on it and read your amazing and profound words. It is true, I always say life is short and live it without regrets…however I never act on the dreams I have….instead of I should of, I wish I had…I am going to lite the fire of my desires and do the things I want to do now. I pray for your friends for strength and comfort…and a miracle to heal. There is only one who knows the day and hour and minute of our departing this earth…to him I give all glory…I am sending blessings and love out to you and your friends.

  106. Thank you David. For years now I have been saying next time, next year, tomorrow. Your post reminds me that now is the time, year and today may be all I get.

    My prayers go out to you and your friends.

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  108. how easy it is to forget that life is short until something big and ugly leaps out and growls menacingly at us (at least that’s how it is for me).

    sorry to hear about your friends, that totally sucks.
    of course prayers will be said for them. thanks for sharing their story and asking for help on their behalf.

    not sure where you are going in nz, hopefully you will keep us posted and let us know if there will be any chances to meet you in person (that’s on my life list for sure).

  109. Awe Inspiring Post:) Now to figure out my dream job and stop wasting time in Retail. God I hate it.

  110. David, you have positively changed the lives of many of your readers today, and through us our friends and family.

    Thank you for sharing.


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  112. David, I’m not into God really. At least not in the sence we ussualy perceive it.


    I’m sending my mojo, good wishes, all my energy to your friends. And big thansk for being such a great teacher!

  113. Thanks David! You did it again, you hit a nerve…
    There’s only one thing that I’d add from my perspective and is that “living our dreams” is even better when is about “living/giving” for others. That’s when you really enjoy life… I think we have been designed to do that, but because so many things we like to take other roads…

    In the humanitarian field I’ve witnessed that many times… it’s better to give than to receive. That’s the real dream!

  114. Good thoughts David, thank you. Not so far from my context these days on a couple of life’s fronts.

    Sometimes the so-called path of least resistance can really be the path of greater friction. Fear and risk-aversion and inertia are three tricky devils that don’t tell the truth.

    And our mortality – yes it can be a sobering messenger. I pray you will be a timely and incarnate friend – one of those things that matters far more (and lasts longer) than pictures.

  115. David… the heart expressed in your words, exactly as vision is expressed in your photographic journey… never fails to inspire. Thank you for sharing… prayers sent.

  116. *look at me* lost my job, instead of falling on my ass, I’m turning it into a dive into deep water – gonna swim as hard as I can and see where I ned up. The first month has been kind to me… not that this is all about me.

    Just sayin’ I agree, and sometimes we need a helpful push.

  117. David:

    Thanks for the reality check – we are always comforted by “someday I will” or “maybe”. It takes extraordinary courage to face our the quality of our life when we acknowledge our remaining days – may your friend face hers knowing how deeply her life touched yours and ours…

  118. i read your message with a heavy heart. i have a friend who is days or weeks away from the end of her life with stage four cancer. she is one of those wonderful people who is just a beam of light. i always thought that i had all the time in the world to be closer to her as we’ve always seen each other as kindred spirits. there’s no more time now and i go to hold her hand now with such wrenching sadness. she is only 35 years old. i just cannot stop thinking of her and all that she accomplished and loved….she has lived her life so voraciously and with so much love.

  119. I’m so sorry to hear your news. There are no words in a situation like that.

    Yesterday I found out that someone that I knew through work died suddenly. He had an acute brain hemorrhage. He was 41.

    Last February I lost my Father-In-Law to Lung Cancer after a brief 5 month battle. I thought I’d have him around a long time and loved him like a father. He was 61.

    I always read your blog although I don’t comment often. I had to comment on this one.

    This is the most important post that you will ever write and hopefully one that people will take to heart.

    There is nothing more important than enjoying the time that you do have, making the most of every day, spending quality time with loved ones, realizing that possessions mean nothing in the end and the importance of making your dreams come true.

    Thank you for writing this. You mentioned how often you hear people say “I wish I could do that” and wondering how many people make the steps to realize their dream… dream has always been to go to Africa. I’ve been on life-support because of an illness twice in the last 5 years. My parents and husband were prepared by the doctor’s that I wasn’t going to make it.

    I need a new car. I want new furniture. I need, I want, I want….but those things can wait. Instead of those things I have booked my trip to Africa for 2011. (and while I’m looking forward to it more than I have with anything in my life before….I’m not wishing away the time inbetween.)

  120. Well stated David. May we all just be moved even a little by your message and the world would be better for it.

  121. Just yesterday I received a birthday card from my Mother. As a child I always admired her handwriting. She used a big, open, cursive script that reflected her warm and generous personality. Her handwriting still bears some of that, but it now less assured, less steady and in so many ways more fragile.

    David, thank you for this post. You’ve given me fresh reason to cherish the time I have with my family. My thoughts go out to your friends mentioned above.

  122. Thanks for sharing David.

    Wish I had good advice like everyone else here – I just dont.

    Again, thank you and our thoughts go out to everyone you mentioned in your post.

  123. Thank you for this post. I will be quitting my miserable job in a few weeks. Whatever the future holds from that move it will be a step forward. I wish I had done this years ago but in doing it now I hope I am wasting less of my remaining time.

  124. Firstly I must thank twitter for connecting me to you this evening… and secondly your beautiful post on your blog. I am actually from NZ and live in Bend OR – my perfect place on the planet right now.
    I think spending time in NZ will be the perfect thing for you! The beauty will astound you and the people warm you. It is clear that you get what most people don’t , you are listening to your inner self and best of all you are doing something with it. I look forward to checking out your work and hearing about your trip. If you want some tips on where to go what to do please email me.
    Have an amazing journey down under.


  125. Love your post today David & this has struck a chord with me. I lost my father this year also to brain cancer. It’s been a tough year.As I write this I look over at a poster by my desk that a monk made for me in Vietnam a few years back. “Living in the Present, How Beautiful this very moment is”. My thoughts & prayers to your friends.

  126. David, thank you for the wonderful & timely post. I’m praying for your friends and you, as you encourage us. At 71 I have been thinking about what I may and should accomplish with my remaining days. As you have pointed out so well, thinking & wishing are not enough. We have to act. A copy of your post will remain on the top of my desk as a constant reminder to do what is important. Bless you!

  127. I don’t know who you are (linked here from a Dane Sanders post) but you seem to know just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for taking the time to write your inspiring post. Peace and prayers to you and your friends.

  128. Great post David! Today was “one of those days” so the words are well received.

    Compared to someone facing a terminal illness, my problems seem trivial; however, they are all too common.

    For the past 20 years I have worked at a job I despise? Why, oh why? Because in the process of discovering myself I also have taken on several committments that require stability, are long term and not conducive to quick changes in direction. As they say “too soon old, too late smart.”

    If I could do it again knowing what I now know, here’s what I’d do differently:
    1. Never take a job for the money.
    2. Figure out what you are good at as quickly as possible.
    3. Get things sorted in the following order, a) Career, b) Partner and c) Family
    4. Rent, don’t own. Your things end up owning you, not the other way around.
    5. A coward dies a thousand deaths, the hero dies but one.
    6. Regret is the heaviest burden.

  129. Great post David … I came a whisker away from being hit by a car this morning while walking across the street to get a coffee, and your post reminds us all how short it is. Thank you.

    Peace – Justin

  130. For years I had to fight with depression, now with a new person in my life she got me to see how I do love my photography. So now with meds and therapist and my photography ( one year now with my dslr camera) I can’t afford classes so I get tips from on line friends from facebook and my yes I like it or no not this one.. You see David depression is so bad for some of us that it hurts and no one understand unless they are going through it too. I lost my sons and now to be ex husband cause they didn’t understand how bad I was..

  131. David,
    Thanks for posting this. It is more valuable than you know. My prayers go out to your friends. As a cancer survivor myself I can relate. I work hard, save and take the trips, make the shots, whatever. Get your money’s worth every day!! My wife and I are bringing our two boys to China and Tibet next summer on a teacher’s salary. It can be done.
    The main reason this is great timing is that I was feeling real bummed because my wife’s car died today. It is done. It will cut into the trip fund and I was frustrated. Thanks for the reminder that it is just a piece of metal. We are just fine!
    Much Peace and Respect David!
    PS, I still want to buy you a beer!

  132. I couldn’t agree more. This is why I left my job earlier this year. Swaziland did it to me… seeing all those HIV orphans and widows made me really see how precious life is. And I didn’t want to give the best years of my life to my job.

    I have no idea how things will turn out. It’s early days still. But there is no way to lose in this situation.

    Praying for your friends… and all those others facing the fragility of life tonight.


  133. Great post – lovely sentiment, well said!

    BTW I’m based in NZ, in New Plymouth – hit me up via website if I can help with anything on your trip.


  134. David,
    If God was ever trying to get to someones heart… Wow.
    I have just finished a heartfelt prayer for your friends, and yourself. Thanks for being a man willing to put himself out there. Thanks for following your heart,

  135. Thank you for this entry. You are so right. I need to remember this everyday and worry less about the future. Live in the now. I will pray for your friend and his wife that they find healing and understanding in this difficult time.

  136. David you are so right! My dad also have leukemia and I see how sad is he because he doesn’t have any more time to do all the things he wanted to do…
    Life is really short… it’s sad that we all just wish and don’t do anything… yes.. this is one of your best post ever… it really gives us something to think about …

  137. Very inspiring post, David. Challenging in every way. I’ve posted a link on my Facebook wall, and sent prayers up for your friend.

  138. Hi David,
    This is my first time posting here. I couldn’t be reading this at a more appropriate time in my life. I’ve been feeling something very similar for quite a while now. I finally stopped making excuses and took a month long trip recently. It was difficult to leave for such a long period of time, but like you said, work can wait. I came back with a renewed perspective and passion on life.

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words. My thoughts are with you and your friends.


  139. Thanks David for such a heartfelt post. My heart goes out to your friends.

    I’ve spent the past year battling cancer and there is nothing like it to give you a HUGE wake-up call. I used to tell my husband that it wasn’t IF you get cancer, it was a matter of when but it still shocked me to get the news.

    I now push my friends to follow their dreams now, take those vacations because I tell them to look at me and realize things can change in an instant and your whole life gets turned upside down.

    Good thoughts for you all, take care.

  140. I said it to you once to you in person and I will say it again on here. Thank you for continuing to live your dream as well as writing about it. Even with a positive and a tenacious attitude, I find we are all subject to the same live forever mindset from time to time. It does not have to take a near death experience to realize that we should open up our eyes as wide as they can be opened, face our challenges and create a life as fun and vibrant as we are all capable of.

    I am thankful for this post like many others and I appreciate you being willing to share some of your passion with whomever is listening.

    Lots of love to your friends

  141. Great post…my thoughts & prayers are with my friends & your friends that are going through such terrible times ?

  142. Inspiring post as always.

    Is it wrong to point out that everything you wrote is, for all it’s brilliance, common sense?

    We ALL know that time is limited so why does human nature make it so that the majority of people choose to ignore the fact?

    We owe it to ourselves, and to humanity, to live our lives to the full.

  143. There is alot of truth and wisdom in your words. Our time on this earth is limited and I am guilty of telling myself that there is time and I will get to it soon. Even after an illness that almost ended my life a few years ago I still have not changed. Your words I will keep where I can refer back to them occasionally and maybe they will sink. Prayers to your freinds and God be with you in your travels.

  144. Thanks for sharing from your heart and rattling me awake! You are right, life is short. I’ll be adding your friends to my prayers.

  145. David,

    Thanks for your reminders of the brevity of life and to do while it is still called today for we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

    While I can’t possibly know what exactly your friends are going through or how they feel, my family lost my sister in law to a brain tumor 7 years ago (she was 28, leaving behind my brother and their 3 year old daughter) so they will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Thank you again for your always thought provoking, honest and edifying blog posts.

  146. Wow, what a heartfelt and beautifully written piece. I’ll confess I had tears in my eyes about two paragraphs in.

    All so true – thank you for this invaluable lesson in life!!!

  147. Thank you for taking the time to say all of these things. For you and your friends, may you find the strength when it’s needed, and then wonderful and happy memories to get you through a horrible time. If you are ever in Santa Barbara, please let us know so we can meet you.

  148. Wow – like others, I really needed this. Even if we can’t quit our day jobs, we can re-prioritize so that we spend our time on what counts in every moment.

    I’m so sorry about your friends, and am sending them good thoughts.

  149. Excellent post and very well stated. Sone people develop their whole lives based on how they will make money, other than how they will make their own time. I personally coin this action as “hustling backwards” meaning trying to obtain the material aspects prior to establishing the mental needs. Once the hustle has started, regardless of which direction the reversal is a challenge. This ideal needs to be taught in school . Thanks David

  150. THANK YOU David, this was one of the most important posts I have ever read. My thoughts are with your friends and with you as you embark in a new adventure. I know that you will live everyday of your journey to the fullest, as every one of us should.

  151. I learned to hate the word Cancer 3 years ago when I learned I had lymphoma. News like that changes everything for you, your family, and your friends. Everything you and your followers wrote is true – we each cope in our own way. My prayers go out to your friends at this difficult time. I hope they and you find peace. Thank you for your post.

  152. You are one heck of a writer and one heck of a person. Wise words here. (Guy Tal mentioned this post, so I came here to read what you had to say.)

  153. David,

    Sorry to hear about your friend(s). We all tend to forget we have a one way ticket to this miraculous planet and thus, what’s really important in life.

    We feel so helpless when someone we love is beyond our help, but the one thing we can do is “be there.”

    To love and be loved is no small thing, no matter how much time we have, so love them well and take good care of yourself as well.

    Thanks for being open enough to share your feelings and life, along with your work.

  154. I am a firm believer that things always come to you when you need them, and your writing here is one of those such “things”. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart ….

  155. So true David -thank you for sharing. It is so easy to lose sight of what’s important in life. Sending positive thoughts and white light to your dear friends.

  156. Life is short and probably unfair too.. I had no clue (seriously) about how sucky or beautiful life is… one day I get a call from a friend saying his father expired.. he was extremely friendly and close to all of us.. it’s hard to accept the fact for me (think about him..) one thing for sure is NOTHING IS FOR GRANTED.. bomb blasts, burglaries, natural disasters, plane crashes – everyday news is filled with disturbing stuff.. I have started to think may be we take life too seriously.. the entire Universe is so huge (huge is also probably defined but not the Universe.. :)) and what are we in it? I sometimes feel like we are like those tiny little bacteria that can’t even be seen when you take the whole Universe or even this world for comparison… our only problem is – we are human.. we not only can experience pain but can display the emotion more than any other living being.. as you rightly said .. stay as long as you are destined to.. be good and do good.. have the least expectations from this world.. be a giver and a not a taker ..atleast not all the time (since we are only human..) we would never have known about a disease or have cure for it until someone in past had suffered from it.. so in the billion years that life existed on this earth there have been millions who have gone thru what you did.. I can’t believe the realization of life I experience after my friend’s father’s death.. well.. anyways.. there’s lot to say about this subject 🙂 take care all you guys.. my prayers are on for your friends too David..

  157. This is how Arnt (my husband of 32 years) and I have lived our life….we look back on our life and would not have done anything different. We realized very early on that we had adventures in us and did not want to wait until we were “retired” so we really never had proper jobs…but we own our own home and studios now and have stuff! People always say “you are so lucky” or “how do you have this life” and we always say “we are not lucky, we plan it and just do it” …. some have listened and fulfilled their dreams and unfortunately some are still complaining…hopefully they will see the light! Too many of us are leaving this earth way too early…my heart goes out to you and your friends.

  158. Great notions, but so hard to act … fear is the enemy. I realized this a couple of years ago, and try every day, to do something that scares me, hoping that someday I’ll have the courage to take the big steps.

    Always great to hear similar advice from people I respect as much as you. Thanks

  159. I’m so sorry for you and your friends. I truly know how it feels and that only you (I) can do something with our lives.

    My mother died at 39, when I was 10; my husband died at 39 of leukemia; my dear brother died at 59 before he could fulfill a simple dream. I ain’t waitin around. I left work at 53, bought an RV, and traveled north america, baja, Alaska, etc. I had always wanted to see a desert bloom (I’m from NE), so I’ve spent several springs in the southwest. I always wanted to see the tree frogs of Costa Rica, and photographed them in 2008. I’ve always wanted to go to Africa, and will next April. People say “I wish I could do what you’re doing” and I tell them that if they want it bad enough they will.

    I believe the first step on the way to doing/being what you want is to admit that only you can do it. If you have to do something you don’t prefer on your way to what you do, then find peace with that and continue toward your goal. Accept who/what you are NOW, and prepare for who/what you want to be THEN. And I wish you a long time to enjoy it!

  160. Oh my ~ this couldn’t have come at a more meaningful time. Our community suffered a sad and tragic loss this last weekend. A teacher much loved who has been a mentor, a friend, a sweetheart.
    The entire community is devastated. The events have made me step back and reevaluate life and remind me what is most important. Thank you for writing it all so well, my thoughts are with your friends.

  161. Thank you David for this reminder. I am spending time with my grandson. My daughter – his mom lives in France and they came for a visit (6 weeks). I took off work so that I could spend ALL the time with them. My boss said “You must be crazy!” when I told her. I said “No, I just wanted to spend as much time as I could with them before they had to go back.” Skype is great but the real thing is better!! I will keep your friends in my prayers.

  162. Thank you David.
    I so needed your words.
    I wish I could quit my job right now to pursue my dreams, whatever they might be… sadly I can’t for what I think are good reasons. But I will make it happen.

  163. Thank you David, not just for saying these things but for living them for it is the living examples of what is possible that show others that it truly is possible. I will certainly send some “metta” (loving kindness) to your friends and everyone else as well because if we’re not out there living then we are already dying. Take care, from a fellow explorer.

  164. David, you are 200% right!
    I’ve seen people at work die shortly after retirement, or shortly before and even one young man and father in a motorcycle accident. They all had plans for their future …
    I’m absolutely with you on doing what I want as soon as I can. On the other side, we should be thankful for everything we have already gotten or done. A friend of mine once told me when I was complaining about things I wasn’t able to do: “don’t wish your life away”. He meant that I shouldn’t complain about what I didn’t have, but cherish what we have.

  165. David, you’ve offered a wonderful tribute to your friend and his wife. May they make the most of the days they have left together and realize that love never ends. And your heartfelt thoughts on making each day count is a valuable wake up call for all of us. Bless your friends and bless you for caring and sharing this message.

  166. Live the life without tomorrow is a good thinking. When you sleep, imagine what if you won’t wakeup in the morning.

  167. My mother died from cancer about three years ago. She was still a child in her 60’s. She still had too many dreams to chase.
    I realized then what you have just said in your post. Life is too short and tomorrow could be too late. I decided to pull the steer and start chasing my own dreams from that moment… but I was so afraid…I felt fear from my head down to my toes… Then, about a year ago I knew about a photographer called David DuChemin, and started to follow him on his blog…In early 2010 I read “VisionMongers” and everything changed. I really started to walk towards my dreams. I still feel fear for having quit my ‘good’ job and become what I really wanted to be: a full-time photographer. Anyway, I think I’m beating the “Resistance”, and that’s because YOU helped me open my mind. You light the way somehow. Thanks so much David!

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  169. “How beautiful is youth, that is always slipping away! Whoever wants to be happy, let him be so: about tomorrow there’s no knowing.”- LORENZO DE MEDICI (1449-1492)

  170. David, I am very sorry to hear about your friend. I will be praying for her.

    I really appreciate your post. It is as if you have been rifling around in my thoughts. For the past year I have been having this very discussion with my wife and several of my friends. Life is to brief to live it for stuff, ease and a pain free existence. Hard choices, pain and risk are where the beauty of life is truly experienced.

    On a somewhat related note. I have been meaning to ask you. Does your wife travel with you? I know you travel quite a bit and I have always wondered how you balance being an world photographer and a husband. As a husband I have been thinking through this as I make plans for a career change. Your thoughts would be appreciated.


  171. Hi David,

    I think this is possibly your best post. Don’t get me wrong, I love your “normal” posts and your books but sometimes one just needs a good smack in the face.

    Unfortunately, I think we all have stories too similar to yours. I have a close family friend that has lung cancer and has been given 3 months to live.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you friends and all those that have loved ones suffering.

  172. Thanks David: I turned 79 this month and as I look back on my life I realize how many plans were set aside, how many dreams were unrealized. But on the whole it has really been great, I’ve done a lot, seen a lot, painted up a storm at times and shot 50,000 images with some great cameras. But mainly I have loved and been loved and in the end that is what really matters.
    Plus I still wake up every day and plug away at getting better, not just at photography. It doesn’t matter if never catch up with Ansel. It is the journey that counts.
    Enjoy New Zealand, I sure did.
    Dick K.

  173. Pingback: Life is short « lone star aggie

  174. Your echoing a lot of what I’ve been feeling lately. I’m still working a soul-sucking IT job, but I’m pushing hard to get the “emerging” part out of being an emerging photographer 🙂

  175. thanks david. life is short and we always can’t replay the time we use to be with people even we have some excuses.

  176. This particular entry of yours has hit so close to home for me, personally. I’ve recently lost an immediate parent to cancer a few weeks ago. HIs death has brought some good: the awareness of how short life is and how all the rest of the trivial things we tend to cling onto, things that impede us from moving on, has no meaning anymore. What matters now is moving on and realizing myself and how I want to value more of my life.

    Having to see this post on my RSS feed just reinforces what I want to express to others as well. Thank you for this.

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  178. thanks once again David. Resonates very strongly with us – we’re making and have made steps in the right direction. with you all the way.
    peter berg

  179. Greetings David . . . I found your “sermon” to be a profound reiteration of how I see life. I’m so sorry to hear about your friends. Death is the one equalizer that brings us all to your knees. I will keep them in my prayers as requested. I learned of this through Michael Frye’s post on FB. We live in a world connected by an incredible web. Thanks again for the reminder that life is short and living it passionately is so important! God’s peace be with you and your friends.

  180. Thank you for sharing, David and for echoing what I believe many individuals (including myself) are feeling who have day jobs and who are considering switching vocations. Following and trusting myself and my passion is probably one of the most important (and most difficult) things that I’ve had to learn to do in my life. Along the same vein as what you say in your blog, and not to hijack the thread, but for those where David’s message really resonates with you, you may want to do a Youtube look up for Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University commencement speech. That was really the turning point in my life where I decided to follow my dreams despite the difficulty that would be involved.

  181. David, bless you. We found you because of your photography. We stayed because of your humanity. You have a credit of one, big, bear hug. Cheers, Wayne

  182. David, you are so right. My wife and I are on a year long trip traveling throughout Australia because we recognize that life truly IS short and this is something we had to do before it is too late.
    So get to NZ, get in that camper or whatever and travel across Canada or the States or where ever with your family for a year and truly live, while you still can.

  183. Well said, David! The marketing powers in our society scream at us that we will reach almost nirvana if we just buy that and that, and we strive harder and harder to achieve our (most often) financial goals. My aunt died of lung cancer 2 years ago; my motner-in-law died 14 days after having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just 2 months ago, and my mother, luckily survived breast cancer some 7 years ago. This post is not about them, but it struck me, that even if I from their stories should have learnt that life is very fragile, I have still kept on, burning my own candle in at least 2 ends. Your post opened my eyes, really!

    Thank you.

  184. “All life is Holy, Life delights in Life”, William Blake

    so we delight in you too David – thank you for saying this reality to passionately and eloquently. Yet, the most we can do is live our authentic selves with no recriminations, right. See my Haiku: Isness: In doing to be – yourself, one with the moment – a snowflake melting

    cheers, and blessings, Brian

  185. This is so good to hear … I’m right in the middle of making some changes. Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with cancer (lymphoma), had the works, surgery, chemo and radiation. Now I’m two year free and counting. I continue to struggle between giving up my safe career path of computing and really reaching for the stars with something that I consider more meaningful, maybe it’s photography, maybe it’s something else … but there comes a point when we have to let go of everything we think is real and safe and to cast off into the unknown and to trust in something bigger, if I don’t then I’m already dead.

  186. David:

    Great words. In early 2009 I took a midnite stroll right off the edge of a 40′ cliff. A surgeon friend put it bluntly that I was lucky to even wake up, given I had a head injury.

    To this day, I try to keep the reminder to not let the small stuff get to me, and to cherish each day as if it was the last. It’s not easy, and I often fail.

    The important thing is to be mindful of our frail and brief time, and what’s important. Posts like yours needs to be repeated & shared; often.

  187. Totally true, David, and this is what I need right now to keep going through this hard situation . . . Thanks! Hope God help your friend and if there is not way back, that she goes in peace to a better place. Love.

  188. David, you are spot on with your post. We all feel that life is long, but in the grand scheme of things, it is only a blink of an eye. We believe that the tangible things are important, but in reality a gentle smile or a “thank you” means much more. Keep up your great spirit!

  189. My wife and I have talked of this very topic many times over our 40 years together (and counting). We know many people that do nothing but work and have no real life outside.

    We made a pact upon marriage to pick up a new sport every year. We did that for the first 15 years, and the memories and experiences still give us lots of stories for the nieces and nephews.

    We then started to travel, and make a point of 5 weeks of vacation each year — 3 weeks in a new country we have never been too, plus two other 1 week trips revisiting places. Work only gives 2 weeks vacation, so I just tell my boss(es) that I will take 3 unpaid, and if they don’t like it, I’ll go work somewhere else.

    We are now near retirement, and making plans to move to Central America or South America or New Zealand or Austrailia or… the possibilities are endless, but we expect to start our next 20 years of exploration soon.

  190. David,
    Wonderful post indeed, so true. As I get a bit older I realise time accelerates! You really must appreciate the here and now and do your best to make it worth appreciating.

    And that line about picking up the guitar, losing weight and the French lessons – holy mother of figs, have you been watching me? 😉

    Strength & Length of days to you!

  191. All true things you say. But even if every one of those dreams was followed and achieved — would it be enough? I don’t know about you, but my own experience has shown me that my desire is infinite; with every thing I achieve that I had dreamed would bring me satisfaction, I find myself wanting something more. The satisfaction is temporary and fleeting. Why? Because we are made for the infinite, and only the infinite will suffice.

    Yes, dreams are important and should be followed. But the answer to your happiness is here and now; it is in whether you live your circumstances — whatever they might be — with the awareness that you are destined for the infinite, and that in fact, the infinite has already entered history and is with you.

    Thank you for the chance to share my own little sermon. My prayers are with you and your friends.

  192. Very nice post, David. We all need constant reminders of how precious our time here really is, for how quickly we forget that this gift will not last forever, or even a day. My thoughts and prayers go out to your friend and his wife. And my thanks go out to you for sharing so much with all of us.

  193. I will send prayers your friends way. As I know as well, life is short, having lost both of my siblings tragically last year. I love this blog – it’s so true. We place so much meaning on the trivial things in life and sometimes not enough on the things that really matter. It’s easy to get caught up in that, and to feel sorry for yourself. I know some days I’m still there, trying to heal. I’m preparing for a 2 level spinal fusion on 11/24 and have been feeling sorry for myself. But I have to keep a bigger perspective, knowing that I will do this, come out stronger, happier, and I’ll be able to be a little more speedy to chase those elusive dreams down.
    Much positive thought and prayer to your friend and his wife. It is unjust and unfair; somtimes it makes me wonder why these things happen.

  194. I just wanted you to know…
    I’ve been a “fan” of yours for quite some time…I’ve bought all of your books, many in both paper and ebook versions, I’ve drooled over your photographs and sighed over your words of encouragement (and even more so your words of angst, which encourage me onward)…I’ve wished and hoped that “I could do what you are doing”…I am one of those people!
    And, I have taken the leap…forward!
    I made myself completely available for the possibility…and the possibility just walked into my life, as if it had been standing at the door all along. I will be traveling this year with an NGO doing amazing work with Burmese refugees…as their documetary photographer.
    I wanted you to know.
    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For everything.

  195. Wow – talk about timing. My dream photography job just got confirmed yesterday…and I’m scared crapless! I’ve been working towards this for years while holding down a job in a career that’s not me and in the last 24 hrs I have become fully aware of the inertia of a “safe”, known day to day life and how easy that all seems…and how attractive it is when I’m about to step out into the unknown…and I’m scared crapless. I wanted to thank you for sharing this post with such eloquence and passion. It’ll be one more weapon I can use against the wimpy part of me when it tries to convince me of how much easier it would be to crawl back into bed with the tv remote instead of taking charge of my life and seizing this opportunity. As each journey continues, I’ll keep your friends – and you as you take your next step – in my thoughts and prayers.

  196. Thank you for sharing this. I will be praying for your friend and his wife.

    I’m very thankful for this post. I’m unsure of almost everything in my life at the moment. I really took to heart all of your thoughts. It helped me to realize that it’s time that I step out in faith for what I believe.

  197. Thank you for this post, David. A good friend of mine passed away three years ago of cancer – same age as me – and it was quite a wake-up call. You think you still have all this time to do things and keep putting it off. It certainly made me re-evaluate my priorities.
    Best wishes to your friend and his wife. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

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  199. David

    I was touched by your story and i hope you do not mind but i put link to the blog on my website.


  200. Great post David. This is exactly why I left IBM and joined you in Kathmandu. My prayers are with your friend. Now is all we really have; thanks for sharing, safe travels.

  201. Thanks for sharing David. My deepest sympathy to you and your friend. Life is cruel.

    This post is very poignant for two reasons for me.

    Firstly I heard today that one of my best friends’ dads passed away over night due to cancer. Only a few months ago he was fit and well and looking forward to the wedding of his youngest daughter. The family’s devestated and nothing I can say can make it better. Life is cruel.

    The second reason is that I have been reflecting myself over the last couple of months that life is too short. I spend most of my life at work, overworked, overstressed, living for the weekend, just doing it to pay the bills. I have no time or energy to follow my passions though constantly battle with the feeling that a passion would always find the time or energy, leaving me to wonder what else I have. Life is cruel, and life is too short. But what do we do about it?

    My sympathy and thanks again.

  202. Pingback: Life Is Short | Gerry's Blog

  203. My heart goes out to your friend and his wife as my brother lost his battle to brain cancer 3 years ago. I’ll just add my prayers to those of everyone else.
    And also thank you for your words today. They are very important for me to hear/read. I’ve read most of your e-books but don’t often get to your blog.
    thanks so much!!

  204. Hey – consider this a gift card of 5 F-I-V-E Scandinavian bear hugs. Valid for one year. Coupon Codes are WW1 through WW5.

  205. Hi David –

    My thoughts are with your friends.

    I’ve been a fan of your e-books for a while now, but only just found your blog today. Great post, some things I needed to hear right now. Thanks. 🙂

  206. Prayers are on the way for your friends, David. Thank you for sharing this today. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are living on borrowed time.

  207. Prayers to your friends David.

    My husband and I are always saying – live in the NOW. It is all we have. I have had breast cancer and a serious colon-rectal cancer for which I am still having checkups. We are in the process of planning another trip to Europe. 30 years ago we put travel as #1 priority in our lives. Started what we call a “trip account” and to this day still add to it monthly. We have budgeted well and done a lot of travelling. Many times when I was sick knowing I had so many wonderful memories of the world I had seen – and no regrets – really helped. Life is not a rehearsal – just do it!!

    Love reading your blog.

  208. Well said, David. The older we get the faster time moves until we look back and 10 years of our “prime” are gone and few of the things on our checklist are done. For all any of us know (and those of us who have lost family too early know), there may be no “next year”.

    Tough to balance pragmatism (saving money, doing the routine we all do most weeks) and truly living life to a fuller extent. My first piece of advice for everyone who feels time slipping away: turn off your damn television! You can’t think clearly or plan out your next adventure with the idiot box running. 😉

  209. David,
    First off my thoughts and prayers go out to your friend and his wife.
    Having lost my wife of 28 years this past June, after a 17 year battle with breast cancer, I think about this every day. Every word you wrote is so true.

  210. Thanks for writing this David. It is something we all forget but shouldn’t.
    I’m one of those that is stuck in a miserable job and trying to figure out how to make a living at something I love. Your posts are an inspiration for me although sometimes tear jerkers, they keep me taking steps forward.

  211. Thank you David ..I believe strongly in everything you just wrote in your blog..but as Aileen mentioned..sometimes a message comes to you just when you need it…somewhat like a swift kick in the backside. I send good energy to your friends who are having to endure this incredible trial and I hope to take these words to remind me of what is important on a daily is indeed short, go live!

  212. Great post, David. I’ve been thinking this for the last few years. Lots of personal tragedies and trials that have reinforced that belief with me, as well.

    One of my favorite bands in the world, NoMeansNo, is a Vancouver group who once wrote, “I got tired of waiting because i found out / There’s only a fine line between / Biding one’s time and waisting one’s time.”

    Be well, stay strong and thanks for sharing, as always.

  213. this is a week of too many life changing things happening to people in my world.

    you are bang on.

    good thoughts for your friends, and for you.

  214. David:
    Blessings and peace to your friend and his wife.

    You have just said in a (not so) few words, what I have been thinking myself for a long time. It is not that many people have not had similar thoughts but too few have acted on these ideas.
    You are absolutely right. Time is NOT money. You can not lend it or borrow it in absolute terms, but one can ‘invest’ it earn great returns.

    We should, all mankind, deeply think about these things and spend our time wisely.
    Thanks for the blog and your wise and sometimes wide-ranging advice.

  215. David, this is a post which I find resonating strongly with what I’m feeling now. I thought I’ve always been living my life with the fullest passion I absolutely can, but when you wake up literally having to give yourself a positivity jab for months it became clear to me to listen to my heart.

    I decided to let the whispers come through as a voice loud & clear – to shoot, travel, love as though tomorrow’s my last. Yes, I might be a fool for possibly getting my heart broken by taking a chance with someone. But I also know, if it is not done today we might not have a tomorrow to do so. And for my passion for travel & shooting, it is a love so strong in me that it’s the compass that directs me onto the future journeys I’m taking.

    Having lost my aunt to cancer last year & running Terry Fox’s this year in memory of her, I was reminded despite it being a year without her laughter, I have a lifetime of memories to get me through it. All the best to your good friend.

    Thankful to have cross paths with you too, love & light – namaste xxxx

  216. HI David,
    Thank you for this post, a great reminder to all of us. I too went through a time like this in my life (5years ago next week).. and at that time I came to exactly the same conclusions as you… But still we need reminding. Daily life creeps in there and sometimes we forget. Thank you for this.
    Sending positive mojo their way!
    Wendy D
    PS Big changes are very good!

  217. Thanks for the reminder David. Healing white light and energy going out to your friends, and to you as well. I leave in just 43 days for my third “trip of a life time,” and have more planned for the upcoming years:) Your e-books are coming with me on my little netbook – your wisdom and grace will travel with me in my head and heart. Thank you again and be well David – I look forward to following your journey. Lynn

  218. Good for you David!! Please post more on this as you figure out what you are going to do. I’m currently looking to do something similar, except I’m looking for a small apartment to rent in NZ so I can spend the time just shooting my beloved LF.

  219. My thoughts and prayers are with your friends. This post… I sit here with tears in my eyes. You are right, absolutely one hundred percent right in every word. Thank you.

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