a person drowns underwater

Just before you die

There’s nothing more motivating than knowing you will die
For figuring out what matters; getting things clarified
We all know it will happen but we pretend that it won’t
We know it for sure but we act like we don’t

Until it’s too late and there’s little time left
Our memories tinged with regret, and we are bereft
We’re feeling it’s ourselves that we have betrayed
And none of us want life to finish this way

How often have you started a sentence, “I wish…”
How many plans did you let somebody else squish
How many times have you thought, “Well, someday…”
But if someday ever came, it just drifted away

How many times did you go off to work
Wanting to stay and feeling like a jerk
How many times were you simply not there
When you wanted more than anything to show that you cared

You spent you life making other people happy
In retrospect it makes you feel pretty damn crappy
It was you that you should have made happy first
So making others happy wouldn’t feel so coerced

You didn’t really make them happy, you just did what they wanted
Situation that now you wish you had confronted
And clarified your priorities mostly for yourself
Instead of thinking you had plenty of time you could sell

You tried to please people you didn’t respect
Bosses and assholes you wanted to reject
People who simply cast you aside
When you were no longer useful, no matter how hard you tried

You let other people define your success
When you were the one who could have done it best
The things you didn’t do, the ones you didn’t try
So much time lost, it makes you want to cry

You thought you were happy but now looking back
You compromised you happiness for a paycheck or plaque
You realize your mistake was not understanding now
That now is the only time anyone is allowed

The future is a concept that’s so darned seductive
We’re brainwashed into spending now being productive
We spend our now making someone else rich
Instead of doing what we want, now ain’t that a bitch

The past is just memories that we twist around
To get a few stories that we can expound
You had some good times, you had some good laughs
And spent too much time worshiping golden calfs

The world is fucked up and you were mislead
And now in short while you will be dead
The one thing you wish that someone had said
Is, “Do what your heart tells you, there is no instead.”

Regret is a poison and no matter how much good
You have done in your life, it is cancelled with “should”
Should is a word that completely twists your mind
Into thinking you’re right when you’re committing a crime

Whenever you hear should just turn around a run
Because it’s something someone else wants you to get done
Something that’s for them more than it is for you
And definitely not something that you really want to do

Even more pernicious are the two words, “Should not…”
It’s from these two words that regret was begot
For it’s really the experiences you never even try
That will haunt you in those moments just before you die

The only time that you can do something is now
If you heart tells you do it, you can figure out how
You’ll eventually regret it if you don’t even try
You’ll find should and should not are almost always a lie


Thanks for stopping by! You honor me with your time.

I hope you enjoy your sojourn ‘off the beaten path.’

Stay as long as you like.

When you leave, no matter what else you do,

‘Live the story you want to tell.’

And come back soon!

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© 2023, Steve Rigell, all rights reserved