Live life to the full and make a will

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE

IF TO­DAY was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?

If it would be a day spent tick­ing off a never-end­ing bucket list or one filled with re­gret then maybe you aren’t liv­ing the life you should be liv­ing.

Award-win­ning sci­en­tist, busi­ness­man and phi­lan­thropist Sir Ray Avery, es­ti­mates he has less than 4000 days left of his life and he in­tends to make each one count.

The Mt Eden fa­ther-of-two is sup­port­ing the newly launched Will to Live web­site which aims to help peo­ple bet­ter pre­pare for death so they can fo­cus on get­ting the most out of life.

The web­site pro­vides the tools to help peo­ple cre­ate their own wills and bucket lists and al­lows them to read the bucket lists of some well­known and ev­ery­day New Zealan­ders.

‘‘We’re all go­ing to die,’’ Sir Ray says.

‘‘For most peo­ple it will be a big sur­prise but it won’t for me be­cause I’m plan­ning it back­wards.

‘‘If you’ve got this great big bucket list at the end of your life it prob­a­bly means that you haven’t lived your life prop­erly be­cause you haven’t done it and you wanted to.

‘‘Don’t just do things at the end of your life,’’ he says.

Ev­ery­one is born with about 30,000 days to live.

‘‘I know I am in the last tenth of my life, so ev­ery day I dream big and go for it.

‘‘If you are start­ing a busi­ness or some en­deav­our you plan what you are go­ing to do and, if you are smart, you have an exit strat­egy,’’ Sir Ray says.

But few of us ap­ply that think­ing to our own lives. ‘‘It’s not just about mak­ing a will. ‘‘It’s about will­ing our­selves to live our lives bet­ter than we do.’’

Live your life ac­cord­ing to a plan, he says.

‘‘I’m not say­ing that it has to be a stan­dard-op­er­at­ing sys­tem that is very ster­ile and dour but the worst part is wak­ing up at 78 years old on your deathbed real­is­ing you haven’t achieved any­thing.’’

So if you want to re­tire at 60 and sail around the world, you need to start set­ting your­self bench­marks to achieve that goal now.

Sir Ray’s two young daugh­ters are his main driv­ing force.

‘‘When I die I want them to say; ‘Dad was a good guy. Not just to us, but he tried to make the world a bet­ter place’.’’

Olympic gold medal­list Bar­bara Ken­dall says she still likes to plan ahead for where she’ll be and what she’ll be do­ing in 20 years time.

‘‘If the world ended to­mor­row I could die a re­ally happy per­son be­cause I’ve done ev­ery­thing I wanted to do so far with the time I’ve got,’’ she says.

Auck­lan­ders are the worst na­tion­wide for not hav­ing wills, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by Pub­lic Trust last year, with 57 per cent with­out one.

Pub­lic law ex­pert Mai Chen is the brain­child be­hind Will to Live.

‘‘I am con­cerned that so many peo­ple in New Zealand haven’t planned for the fu­ture,’’ she says.

‘‘I wanted to make it eas­ier for them to pro­tect those who are im­por­tant to them and to give them the mo­ti­va­tion to get on and live their lives to the full.’’

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video of Sir Ray Avery talk­ing about his phi­los­o­phy to life.

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