“The unexamined life is not worth living.”---Socrates
Or we endure love-less relationships because they are safe and familiar.
Or we hold silly grudges that weigh us down like boulders.
Or we allow others to impose their agendas and personal opinions on our life’s unfolding, to our detriment. We go along to get along.
Until something tragic or magic happens to cause a reality check.
For me, it was the untimely death of my brother, Peter. He wasn’t even retirement age, yet. His passing seemed so random, so unreal.
To make matters worse, about a month later, one of my closest friends lost her sister to Cancer. Ironically, her sister had never been a smoker or drinker, and had been in reasonably decent health all her life.
In the aftermath death seemed unkind, unfair, unreasonable.
Mired in unspeakable pain and loss, I was forced to examine my own life.
Let’s face it: We all have a “death sentence” attached.
If it could happen to them prematurely, it could happen to me. It could happen to you. Which is why it’s so important to make whatever time we have left here on this earth count.
Life is often compared to a classroom; here are some of the lessons it revealed to me in 2017. I share them with you to shorten your learning curve; in that we are all students of life.
Class in session…
1. MAKE SELF-CARE A PRIORITY
I spend more time than I should responding to the dictates of others, as opposed to carving out my days in my own way. Honoring requests, meeting deadlines, making a dent in my “to-do” list. As opposed to getting that much needed pedicure or massage, or championing my own personal causes. Sometimes leaving this "Super Woman" super tired. Sound familiar? It’s great to have a giving spirit, but self-love requires that we remember to put ourselves first, so that we can be fulfilled. When we are personally fulfilled, we can give to others our “best” self.
If you've already mastered this one, move to the head of the class.
2. GIVE PEOPLE THEIR “ROSES” WHILE THEY ARE LIVING
We often take for granted that people know how we feel. Or that we will find time to tell them… one day. Don’t wait til it’s too late. Spend less time on social media and more time interacting and communicating with your kids; visit an elderly relative who might feel isolated; tell an overworked spouse how much they are appreciated and valued. It’s never too soon. Love is a verb.
3. DON’T PUT OFF THOSE PASSION PROJECTS
Make this your “year of yes!” Start that blog. Finish that novel. Start that business.
Get in gear. Though some writers have become famous after their deaths, I’m guessing that you don’t wanna’ be one of them. J
Read more about these writers here:
4. STRIVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As a wise man once said: “No one can do everything, but everybody can do something.”
Volunteer. Mentor. Model. Donate.
5. GET YOUR “HOUSE” IN ORDER
Don’t just be prepared for life; prepare for death. Like taxes, it’s inevitable.
Get insurance; make out a will; forgive others; consider your soul’s salvation.
6. PREPARE A BUCKET LIST
What exciting thing would you like to do in your lifetime? What foreign places are you longing to visit? What fear would you like to overcome? Write it down. Prioritize it.
It will give you something to look forward to. It’s a great way to live with fewer regrets and more joy.
7. CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY
Friends are like “shock absorbers” in the bumpy roads of life. They are angels here on earth. Good ones enrich and feed us like a hearty meal. When my brother died, the love, support, kindness, phone calls, donations, shared laughter and tears of friends that span the globe, reminded me of how richly I was blessed, even in my time of loss.
8. TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED
Things can change in an instant. Save money for that rainy day. Preserve your health. Count your blessings. Live life to the fullest. Tomorrow is not promised.
May these lessons help you to live with greater life mastery and fewer detours on the path to happiness. Namaste.
Which lessons here have you mastered? Which do you struggle with?
What would you add?