Book Review: Chasing Daylight

Summer is a great time for me to reevaluate what is most important to me as I set my goals for the coming school year.  I have heard a lot about Eugene O’Kelly’s book Chasing Daylight for quite sometime.  I want to make the most of every moment of my life and felt that this book would lend some perspective since it was written by a man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness leaving him only a few short months to live.  O’Kelly writes about what it was like to transition from being a powerful CEO into someone that carefully thought out how to give closure to the most important relationships in his life.  Reading this book definitely caused me to step back and consider the choices I need to make in my life to make the most important things the things that I truly value the most.

I would encourage this book for anyone that has a hard time stepping back and taking an objective look at their life.  Basically…I’m nowhere near as important as I sometimes let myself think that I am.  I need that reminder a lot!

Here are a few things that I highlighted while reading…

  • You can call what I went through a spiritual journey, a journey of the soul. A journey that allowed me to experience what was there all along but had been hidden, thanks to the distractions of the world.
  • Before the light in my mind faded and the shadows lengthened too much for me to see anymore, I chose at least, at last, to be master of my farewell.
  • Together, over the years, we had chased daylight. And now, as a team, we were going to chase it one last time, only when the daylight faded this time, it would fade not just on one beautiful day among many, but on our beautiful life together. Shadows would lengthen for the last time. Night would fall for the last time. At some point, she would have to finish her round without me.
  • MAY YOU LIVE EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE. —Jonathan Swift
  • What would happen if, rather than dissipating the energy I was spending on the current activity by always having the next one in mind, I concentrated completely on what I was doing at the moment, without a care about what came next? How slow or fast would time elapse if I completely immersed myself in what I was doing?
  • Boiled down, I wanted this last period to be marked by resolution and closure; by heightened awareness; by the pleasure and joy of life. Boiled down still further, I wanted these things, and only these things: Clarity. Intensity. Perfection.
  • I had come to wonder about the true nature of commitment. In fact, it’s not about time. It’s not about reliability and predictability. Commitment is about depth. It’s about effort. It’s about passion. It’s about wanting to be in a certain place, and not somewhere else. Of course time is involved; it would be naïve and illogical to suggest otherwise. But commitment is best measured not by the time one is willing to give up but, more accurately, by the energy one wants to put in, by how present one is.
  • The typical Italian, he said, never went back over a decision he’d made; he felt as if that decision was the best one he could possibly have made given the information he possessed at the time, that while the choice he’d made might not have worked out as he’d hoped, it was the best decision at the time. “The only decision to focus on is the one you are still able to make,” he said.
  • Before my illness, I had considered commitment king among virtues. After I was diagnosed, I came to consider consciousness king among virtues.
  • The end result—the goal—of a Perfect Moment was to taste as much of the flavor that life is constantly offering. But the way to all that was through acceptance.

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