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What would you do if you only had 24 hours remaining on this earth?

Yesterday, I posed this question to my writing students and asked them to write on it for six minutes. The catch was they had to focus their responses24-hours-to-go-2 around their chosen topic for the semester. One student called out, “If I had 24 hours left, I wouldn’t waste it on my Topic!” Cue laughter.

This semester, my students’ writings focus on one Topic of their choosing. The Topic has to do with their “reality.” Reality is a broad concept, so we assessed and discussed what it is and what might be the reality in each individual life. After thoughtful and critical analysis, some chose topics relating to their college majors (nursing, medicine, engineering), other chose themes around religion or science, several chose sports, a few chose relationships (healthy, abuse, love) and one even picked a tangible item (a diesel truck).

I begin each of my writing classes with a free writing component, intended to give students more insight on their Topic of reality. What color represents your Topic? If your Topic were an animal, what would it be? How different is your Topic today than 25 years ago? While they responded to yesterday’s question, it gave me time to reflect on what I might do with one final day.

Since I don’t have a Topic, I had freedom to wander in my thoughts. I stayed away from the more depressing options (saying goodbyes, final hugs and all that). These were my first 10 initial ideas for my final 24 hours:

  1. Reread Charlotte’s Web.
  2. Dance to my favorite song list.
  3. Send a tweet to Harry Connick, Jr., letting him know we could have been great together.
  4. Eat ice cream and several cupcakes.
  5. Turn a somersault on the grass in the backyard.
  6. Drive to the beach and put my toes in the sand and water.
  7. Ceremoniously burn all my “skinny” clothes I was never going to fit again into anyway.
  8. Drink a really good bottle of Italian red wine.
  9. Play a game of Scrabble (on the board, not my phone).
  10. Add a final entry to my journal.

What would you do if you had 24 hours left to live?