The “What Ifs” of Life, by Rich Paschall

Certainly, you have seen some of the various questions surrounding your being stranded on a desert island.  If you were stranded, who would you like to be with?  What 5 things would you take along?  What 5 things that you have now could you do without?  What one album would you take?  What electronic device would you need?  This assumes you would not run out of batteries I guess.

These, and questions like them, present interesting challenges to a person that they may not consider otherwise. Who is the most important person in your life? Is that the one you want by your side? Perhaps you would rather have someone with survival skills. Perhaps you would not want the other to be stranded too. Perhaps you would rather be alone.

What 5 things would you take along? This really calls for creative thinking. You may consider clothes, but do you need more than you are wearing? You might consider your music, but would that come ahead of other basic needs. Perhaps you are one that considers music a basic need. I know those types of people.

Birdie Beach

Would you think of camping supplies?  If you are not already a camper or outdoors person, would any of that mean anything to you?  I guess you could be clever and say you need a lifetime supply of canned goods, but then don’t forget the can opener. Or something to start a fire. I have heard all my life that you can start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, but I have never seen anyone actually do it. Can you? If so, you may be on my stranded island list.


Would you consider tools to build a shelter? Just exactly how handy are you and what kind of tools would be suited to your skills? I guess an ax could serve many useful purposes. Did you have it on your list?  Did you add a hammer?  You may not need it if you have an ax. A knife? A pick? A power drill? Oops, no power.

Let’s say you had an electric device whose battery was solar-powered or recharged.  What then would you take along? I think you will not get the internet, although someday you may get that from just about anywhere. What will you do on your island in the meantime?

Sunrise Strider

If you could take just one album, what would it be? This is a hard one for me. When I get an album I like, I can play it over and over, but I do get tired of it eventually and put it on a shelf. I guess I would pick someone’s greatest hits album, but whose?

Let’s forget about the desert island for a moment and bring you back home. What if you had just one day to live? What would you do? Who would you see? What would you say?

The “one day to live” scenario is thrown out there on social media and elsewhere about as often as the desert island scenarios. It is even more challenging as people think of all the things they were going to do but never got around to it. The long trips are out. The classes to learn some skills are out.

So we may be left with planning a last meal. Are we making this feast or heading to a favorite restaurant? Perhaps it is neither, as we go to someplace we have never tried before. I hear there is a new French restaurant in town. Maybe I want to go there.


Are there people to whom you absolutely must say something? Do you need to say goodbye to someone? Do you need to tell someone you love him or her? Do you need to apologize for something that happened in the past? With a limited amount of time, which people are on the list for final conversations?

The 24-hour time frame automatically eliminates a lot of possibilities. Would you watch a movie, go to a show, or see a play? Those all seem like a poor use of precious hours to me.

Would you go to an expensive concert if you had tickets, or would the expense no longer matter? Perhaps you should give them away and do something else. Would you watch television, YouTube videos, or surf the internet? I guess those practices would begin to seem like quite the waste when “the days (or hours) dwindle down to a precious few.”


What if we lived our lives like only a few things were really important? What if we lived our lives like there was only a day left, even if there were 25 thousand days left? Wouldn’t it be richer and more meaningful?

There is nothing wrong with looking down the road, but too many of us are not living for today. That is why those stranded island and one-day-to-live scenarios are so scary. They immediately call to mind all the things we missed out on in life and can not go back to fix.


When you are left on an island or reach the final day, make sure you did what you wanted and needed to do. That you respected everyone. That you told people you loved them, so you don’t leave with regrets.

Be sure that you mended fences in case there is no time later to do it. If you do this, the one-day-to-live challenges on social media might not be so scary. By the way, if you are stranded on a desert island, it helps to have a volleyball named Wilson.

Categories: #Photography, Life, Relationships, Rich Paschall

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4 replies

  1. Why is it always a DESERT island? Why can’t it be a rich, lush, warm island that is almost paradise with fruits and coconuts and plenty of fresh water?

    If you bring a solar powered SAT-phone, you can get a connection anywhere. I just hope someone somewhere is paying the bill for you!

    For all I know, I may have one day to live. None of us are guaranteed even one more day. I try — with more or less success — to do the best I can with each day. How well do I do? There are good and bad days, grouchy and joyful days. Days where I feel pretty good (all things considered) — and days where I feel just awful — for no particular reason. I think as we go from “getting old” to BEING old, our perspective changes, at first subtly, then dramatically. You look anxiously at your partner, if you still have one. You worry about your friends. You even begin to worry about your children, wondering how THEY will far in this strange future we are carving.

    Long or short, there’s an end to it. On the other hand, given the realities of life, does anyone WANT to live forever?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very wise way of looking at things.

    Liked by 1 person

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