When we’re coming up to the end of the road
So what do we do then, with tragedy around the bend?
We live, we love, we forgive, and never give up
Because the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love
“We Live” by: Superchicks
The other day I heard about a 16 year old boy who died during a trip to the Grand Canyon…he jumped into the Colorado River with two other boys wanting to get a cold dip from the summer heat, and never came back home.
It got me thinking…we never know when our last day on earth is going to come… we don’t know if I that day will arrive unexpectedly or after a long time of unwanted suffering. That young boy never had a fighting chance for his life. Whereas, as horrible as cancer is, and as sickening as the experience of going through it may be, at least I get a fighting chance…at least I get a chance to battle for my life.
Some people’s lives are taken away in the blink of an eye, and what sometimes we humans may judge to be prematurely. These people never get a chance to make a list of the things they want to do before their time on earth is over. They never get a chance to re-examine the relationships in their lives and decide which ones are worthy of their time, and which ones need to be kicked out the door. They never get a chance to remind the people they care about how much they really love them. They never get a chance to decide to not care about mean/obnoxious/rude/unpleasant people that they encounter, but to instead try their best to ignore such people in an effort to make their own lives more fulfilling and healthy. They never get a chance to relax and enjoy the little things rather than rush through life. These people cannot vow to enjoy every sip of their Starbucks cup of coffee while quietly and serenely reading a good book. They cannot vow to appreciate the shining sun and cool breeze outside more, or to take pleasure in the neighborhood park. Yes, it is very unfortunate what some people never get to experience, or rather experience more thoroughly without letting stress or unwanted people to get in the way, because their lives get taken away from them without a warning.
I used to be one of those people who wanted to die quickly, painlessly, and without prior knowledge of it (I believe this was my exact description a couple of years ago). However, things have changed and I have changed my mind as well. Of course, I still would like to die painlessly (and when I am a very wrinkly old woman!) Yet, being diagnosed with cancer has opened my eyes to so many things. Mortality becomes a part of reality when diagnosed with cancer. Death is not a remote concept anymore. The thoughts of dying at a young age before accomplishing much are undeniably scary, but the determination to fight for life also becomes stronger than ever.
Not only that, but I am also more determined now to live most of my days surrounded by happiness and enjoying what good things life has to offer (and there is plenty of loveliness that can be experienced once we decide to slow down and open our eyes.) Don’t get me wrong, I still have my crappy don’t-dare-get-near-me-or-I-will-blow-up-in-your-face days (I do have cancer after all-that’s when I like to play my cancer card), but seriously I am actively trying to limit those days, and heal my soul…with practice I hope to limit those unpleasant days to a minimum, or dare I even say completely eliminate them? (thereby becoming Monk Nancy) After all, they do say that practice makes perfect.
The point of this post is not to freak any of you out by talking about death. I know it is a very sensitive topic that can send many people running in the opposite direction. Rather, the point of this chapter is to call on all of you busy-bees guys and gals out there, who are rushing through life not enjoying any part of it (all the while convincing yourself that you will slow down once you reach that goal, get that promotion, have a family, or reach professional success). STOP DOING THAT! Life is happening now all around you. Stop waiting for that moment when something is accomplished before you can start enjoying it. You know as well as I do that day will never come, because there will always be something more that needs to be done. So, why not start enjoying life now while you still have it? It is all about adjusting your attitude, and then you will realize you can actually LIVE and be grateful for every day of your life. Life is happening now, while you’re busy thinking of the future. I am just as guilty of this as any of you. Why does it have to take something major and life-altering as a cancer diagnosis to get our wake-up call?
So, that is why I write this post…that is why I decide to share this chapter…in hopes that some of you will hear this call before it’s too late. So tomorrow morning when you wake up, try to listen to the birds’ chirping outside, try to enjoy the smell of freshly-brewed coffee, and try to look at a gorgeous blue and sunny sky (or a cloudy and rainy one if that’s more your thing). I hope by taking these small acts you will truly be able to alter the direction of your day. If you are happy and energetic that is when you will be the most efficient. Even better, hopefully your positive energy will emanate to others around you…after all, who says only negative forces have to spread like California wildfires? GO ON, I DARE YA! Spread that positivity and see if it doesn’t change you for the better.
Phew, I’ve become good at this inspirational talk. Maybe I need a change of career? Maybe, I should become a motivational speaker instead…I will find my “Nancy-ness” and help others find their “-ness” as well like Dupree in the movie “You, Me, and Dupree”! (If you have not seen this movie yet, go watch it NOW-it will give you a good chuckle)…
I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
And your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment:
Love one another as I love you.