Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What would you change if you knew you only had one year left to live

Recently I revisited an article titled "What would you change if you knew you were going to die in one year"

So here is what I would change.

1) I would move back to Maryland  to be with my family

2) I would sell everything except my car, because I like to go places.
3) I would splurge on Food and Experiences
4) I would stop worrying
5) I'd stop questioning my value and beauty
6) I would quit social media
7) I'd take my daughters out of school and spend every day with them.
8) I would smell them and hug them too much.
9) And, I would make them videos and write them books of memories and lessons
10) I would print every picture I ever took.
11) I would be as honest and sincere as I could, always.
12) I would let go of pain and scars.
13) I'd kiss my husband every day.
14) I wouldn't work out, but I would run until my bones broke, and then some more.
15) I would tell each person I love, why I love them.

So, the point of this exercise, I gathered, was to pick your list apart, and change what you can control now.  As I sit here with tears rolling down my face, it's a very simple but powerful exercise to really narrow down what is important to each of us. I look at this list and I see very clearly what is important to me: My Family, Nature, Friends, Mental Freedom.  I guess I could move home without a death sentence, and I guess I could pull my daughters out of school and forgo conforming any longer to society. I kind of already do run until my bones break, so I guess I can check that one off.  But..all of those things have consequences that leaves us in a rational state figuring out the right and wrong things to do in our lives, the possible, the difficult, the affordable things that contribute to quality of life . But...I think the conversation that is starts with yourself, when you put yourself in this idea wholeheartedly , is possibly one that can filter thorough the muck, through the decision making process, through the top layers.   I realize this is getting very abstract, but looking at my own list I see the things I want.  I want to be free of negativity and excess, it gets in the way of so many things in so many ways! I want to like myself more, which goes hand in hand with my previous "want".  That is not a poor me thing. I like myself a lot, most of the time. But, I want to all the time...

I'll digress for just a moment because I think this is one of the greatest things I've heard in a long time...

“Even if you sleep late, eventually every day begins, and in the first minute of each day you have to face yourself. Day after day, until you die, you will wake up and remember what you’ve done. Memories of what you did the night before will bubble to the surface. Those memories will come with feelings. If you binged on ice cream or box wine or cocaine, that will be one of your first thoughts, and it will come with a weight of shame, maybe even self-hate.
“Those feelings may be subtle when you’re young and you think you have all the time in the world to turn things around. But unless you practice treating yourself well, soon you’ll be in your 50s and you’ll wake up and the pain of that first minute will be so intense that the day ahead will feel like a prison sentence.”
  “If you practice treating yourself well, then in your first minutes you’ll remember that you met a goal. You’ll remember that you ate food that nourished you, and that you moved and played with the body you’re so lucky to have. Those positive memories will come with good feelings—with deep, meaningful pleasure. A sense of peace. Accomplishment. Rightness.
“Practice living with intention and treating yourself well. Bother to care for and about yourself and your body, and your first minutes will feel like new beginnings. Ignore your body’s needs, neglect yourself, or continue to justify not treating yourself well, and your first minutes will be torture.
 “And here’s the thing: Your first minutes are unavoidable. Even if you graduate and get rich, you can’t ever outsource your first minute. You can’t hire someone to deal with it for you. Yes, you’re gonna die. We’re all gonna die. But until that hammer drops, you alone have to experience the first minute of every single day between now and then. We’re talking tens of thousands of times. Dying only happens once. Relative to those thousands of first minutes, dying is small potatoes.
 “Not to say that stuff has no impact on how you feel about life. Obviously, it does. But unless you treat yourself well and feel well, then it doesn’t matter how much good stuff you’ve got going on, because it’ll all just feel like a fancy box that you live in and resent until you die.”-Kelly Coffey

I want to work on my relationships, I want to make them better, stronger, more honest, less fluff, less criticism and judgement, more accepting, patient, and loving.  

The other day, a rare day when my house was clean, my to-do list was all crossed off for the day, dinner was great, and there was no arguing or bickering with or by anyone...I looked around and felt satisfied. I felt calm and happy. I felt loved and loving. I decided at that moment, that everything I have is enough. I tried really hard to hold on to that feeling for a few days.  It lasted until one night I had one too many cocktails, and spent the first minutes of the next morning wishing I hadn't, not feeling very good. The house was no longer straight, and the girls were arguing over the Minecraft world they were playing in together, virtually.

It's hard  for me to look at myself without negativity.  I don't always see the good stuff.  I don't always see strong, only the weaknesses I have.  Some days I forget to listen to my children talking. And some days marriage is work. Some days I miss my family so much that resentment and anger builds like a fire. I believe all of us are works in progress, and I thought this exercise, of listing the things I would change if I only had one more year to live, showed me the things I should change if I have 100 more years to live...

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No one can really know Everything about you, but

I cannot live with someone who can't live without me.
Nadine Gordimer