One More Day


Merrick Foote

For anyone, it is often difficult to think about what would happen if life was cut short.

Time works in mysterious ways. The 24 hours in a single day may drag on, with each one passing seeming like an eternity of impatience, or they may fly by in a blur of productivity or haste. Those fleeting hours never stop, inconsiderate of every person or thing existing in them, always marching on without a thought otherwise. Twenty four hours is a daunting amount of time as well.

There is a cliché that asks a person about what they would do if they only had one day left to live. This haunting question usually prompts answers that are often not possible to execute given the amount of time and money one may have at their disposal. People often want to spend their last 24 hours checking off everything on their bucket list: having outlandish adventures, skydiving or bungee jumping. But many people’s current situation simply may not allow for those big last wishes to come true. In a way, this realization makes the idea of a person’s last day on Earth that much sadder.

“Thinking about my own mortality makes me feel small,” senior Allison Beckman said. “There are a lot of people who think they’d be fine with dying, but I think when it comes down to it, it’d make us all feel small and inferior.”

Considering one’s own mortality oftentimes forces people into further contemplation of the universe around them, accounting for the feeling of inferiority. The thought of how large the Earth is, the Earth inside the solar system and the solar system inside the galaxy is enough to make even the most confident person feel like they’re insignificant. Even further, they may begin to evaluate their relationships and try to imagine what would happen if they only had one day to send their last messages to the people around them.

“I don’t really like last words,” Beckman said. “I don’t like saying goodbye. I don’t really know what I would say to someone [if it was my last day on Earth] because there’s so much I could say.”

The relationships someone forms with the people around them are infinitely unique. No two people are alike, and the unique qualities each individual has collide differently with others. These interactions between vast arrays of people are the origins of potential strife or collaboration between the two individuals, meaning that every possible combination of interactions between people causes a unique relationship among them. For example, while a student may love to go see movies or go out for a meal with one friend, they may prefer to stay home for a chill night with another.

The relationships between family and friends, or the lack thereof, can have a heavy impact on a person. Even if it is not their last day on Earth, the messages one sends to the people around them can impact their thoughts, words, actions and future plans. The severity of the last words or messages sent to loved ones holds unimaginable depth that a simple cliché cannot comprehend.

“I would want my sisters to know that I love them even though they can be a pain sometimes,” junior Anastasia Paulino said. “But I would also want them to know that they can do anything they want to if they put their minds to it [with] hard work and effort.”

The bond between families can differ greatly, but those lucky enough to be able to connect with their relatives sometimes do not realize the luck they have inherited. Close bonds between family members oftentimes provides a sense of perpetual security in at least one relationship in a person’s life. In the sense of siblings or cousins, they tend to be closer in age and therefore connect on a different level than adult relatives. This similarity in personalities prompts them to want to look out for each other in the long run even after one of them is gone.

“I’d probably give [the money in my bank account] to my sisters for them to split,” freshman Joseph Neumann said. “They’re in college and I have a cousin in college, and then some others that just [graduated], so they might need the help.”

Chosen family is just as essential to life as blood family. The connection between a person and someone they choose to share their life with can often be more personal than those between family members. Because of these types of tight knit relationships, a person’s last 24 hours would more than likely have time carved out for a meeting with close friends.

In addition, a person in their last two dozen hours faces decisions that they may not otherwise take into consideration. The little choices someone makes in their life affects the people around them, specifically close family and friends. Things that seem trivial in everyday life, like taking a shower, ultimately seem like a big decision on a person’s last day.

“I know it’d be my last day, but I’d be hanging out with my friends,” Neumann said. “I obviously wouldn’t want to smell bad. Like, ‘oh remember Joey?’ ‘oh yeah [on his] last day he smelled terrible.’ I wouldn’t want that to be their lasting memory.