Tips for living well and dying happy

Life happens so quickly!
I remember my mother saying, when she was 80 years old, “I don’t know where the time went.”
She still felt young, but she couldn’t ignore the calendar.
Now I feel the same way. It seems just yesterday that I went to the park, pushed my children on swings, and stood nearby while they climbed the high ladder of the curvy slide.
And even before that, it seems only a short time since I had to leave my friends from college and we held hands, singing “Blest be the tie that binds.”
But life goes on–much too quickly. My children are grown and I rarely see my college friends.
Now I have lots of new friends and have the pleasure of relating to my adult children. But this stage of life won’t last forever, either.
The fleeting nature of life makes living very poignant. Here today–gone tomorrow. So it’s very important what you do with the time you have left.
In the prologue of “The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die,” John Izzo writes, “I wrote this book because of my lifelong search to discover what it means to live a full and meaningful life.”
At a young age, Izzo realized how short life was. Izzo was only eight when his father died at age 36.
No wonder he says: “From the time I was a very young boy, I wanted to know the secrets to living well and dying happy.”
Before writing “The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die,” Izzo interviewed more than 200 people aged 60-106 from all walks of life, and asked them to reflect back on their lives.
What did they learn? What would they do differently? What brought the greatest happiness and meaning?
The answers he received from these interviewees led him to believe that if you want to die happy, you have to discover five important secrets.
Many people said, “You have to follow your heart.” As a result, the first secret is Be True to Yourself..
The other four secrets are Leave No Regrets, Become Love, Live the Moment, and Give More Than You Take.
Instead of reading a book from front to back, I usually read the Table of Contents first and begin with the most interesting looking chapter.
In this book it was Chapter 4–“Leave No Regrets.” Chapter 6– “Live the Moment”—was a close second.
When it comes to regrets, Izzo says, no matter how well we live our lives, we will always regret something. But while it’s difficult, we have to forget the past and focus on the future.
If you had only six months to live, what would you want to do–finish a book, be nicer to people, follow a dream, or heal a relationship?
Whatever it is, do it now? Always live as if your time is short, because it is.
And that’s also why it is so important to live in the moment.
Life is a wonderful gift, so make the most of it. Whether you are 36 or 86, why not internalize the five secrets that will help you to live well and die happy.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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