If there is anything that is growing more evident to me as I collect more birthday candles each year, it is that life is short. Children are the greatest proof that time is passing, and perhaps even picking up speed! Funny, it seemed like the sleepless nights with infants were endless, and potty training took forever. Yet, to my surprise , the time has passed quickly and now before me stand children who are parents themselves! To cap that off, we just celebrated our eldest grandson’s graduation from high school and see him heading off to university in the fall. How on earth, did this happen?
The real proof that life is short has come lately in the form of a series of “Celebrations of Life”, as funerals have come to be called. I understood that my aged parents had reached their departure time, after long lives, well lived, but the new goodbye’s have been to friends and a niece who was a few years younger. This is both incredibly sad, and very sobering. Cancer it appears , renders one ready to leave, grateful for the release from pain. The stroke that severely debilitated a close friend last fall, opened up that fear of living with little quality of life. The kind of fear that makes you ask your family to never hold onto you like that. All of these experiences have made me wonder what I would do differently, if I knew my days were numbered.
I know that I would not “sweat the small stuff” any more. I would be more grateful for the small joys of everyday life- sunshine, birdsong, new blooms in the garden and a tasty lunch where I savour every bite. Dust would actually wait, while I visit a friend I haven’t seen in a long while. I would not spend one more minute with anyone who dragged me down. As I reflect back on that idea, I realize it took me a long time to find my way out of a toxic marriage. I have stopped berating myself for taking so long to find the courage to change life for myself and my sons, and celebrate that I did it. One learns so much in the process, especially about yourself. This life it seems, is a roller coaster ride with exciting and scary ups and downs. There is peace in the plateaus and some low places too, when it all seems too hard. But the thing to understand, is that we only get one ride.
When facing the road ahead , find a way around the barrier called “fear“. It leads us in a new direction that can include freedom and new confidence that grows with each little successful step. Reach out, grab a hand, and live the rest of your life- your way.
Life is short.