I’d love to share it with you, but I’m not sure if you can handle it. It’s something you already know, but you probably don’t do anything about. In fact, most of us don’t.
My secret is….we all are going to die one day. Yep, that’s right, we are.
This morning I logged onto Facebook and saw a status update which belongs to my little cousin (who isn’t so little anymore) set to “R.I.P [friend’s name] I love you ♥” My heart broke to read those words. She is in her early twenties, which means her friend is likely the same age. I had an opportunity to briefly chat with her on Skype, and I found out that she was with this friend last night, and he died in an accident between then and the early hours of this morning.
After our chat, I sat there a little while thinking (never a good thing) about the question I asked her: “did your friend die suddenly?” I sat there wondering what exactly does this question mean? Is death not a guarantee in life? It’s not like we have a choice to NOT die. If you’re born, you can bet your socks off that you are going to die. I don’t think the impact of someone dying in an accident is any greater than someone who dies while fighting a terminal illness. In the end they both leave us.
Perhaps it’s because we tend to believe that we will live forever, even though we know that this isn’t possible, and therefore plan and live our lives according to this belief. We don’t do the things that truly matter to us, and we don’t spend time with the people we want to. We insist on getting the laundry done, when our children plead with us to spend at least five minutes playing on the floor with them. We stay in a job we find meaningless, when we actually crave to do something satisfying. And we torture ourselves to stay in an unhealthy relationship for fear of being the ‘bad’ person by ending it or being alone.
Face it, every time someone we love dies, we get hit in the head with the “life is too short” bat. And when the pain subsides, the bruises disappear, we revert back to our old habits. Why do we do this? I’m not so sure but I think it has to do with fear. A fear of uncertainty. A fear of making life changing decisions. A fear of getting what we want. For some, changing jobs is just as stressful as getting married, or divorced. It’s scary. And please don’t think that I’m saying that choosing to put a load into the laundry over playing with your kid is so bad, and is a difficult life changing decision. But when it’s done on a constant basis, you have to figure out WHY you do that. WHY is changing jobs so difficult. WHY do you choose misery over happiness? Once you figure this out, it will make the work of reprogramming those neurons easier.
So maybe I’m onto something. Maybe it is fear of change that keeps us from living our lives to it’s fullest. Some people think that to live the life you want is to overhaul your life all at once. But you don’t! Even when it appears that you don’t have a choice, you actually do. Babies are a perfect example of this. They don’t come out of the whomb walking and running. Heck, they can’t even lift their heads! It’s a learning process – life is a learning process. It takes baby steps – first to sit, then you crawl and then you walk. So why do we expect change to occurr all at once?
Let me share what’s been happening with me. Recently I went through, and am still going through a lot of change in my life. Most of it not by choice. I feel as if my life has become an Etch A Sketch pad, and someone is shaking the damn thing so hard that everything I know and have been comfortable with has been erased from my life. However, one thing I learned through all of this, is that I have at every moment a decision which needs to be made – what is life-giving to me at this moment? Sometimes it means that the laundry will have to wait, and other times I give my daughter a piggy-back ride to the laundry room and she helps me change loads. And some times it means ending a life-long relationship and changing all that I know.
What is the point to this question? It allows you to LIVE your life in the moment – be present. It breaks down those huge, life changing decisions and moments into little bite-sized pieces. All in all – it allows you to LIVE LIFE.
What is the life-giving decision you’ve made today?