A couple of months ago, a very special friend of mine got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis – a potentially disabling disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. My friend is in her late 20’s and was relatively well until this diagnosis. When I heard about it, my immediate and instinctive reaction was grief and sorrow for what the future now holds for her. I am ashamed at myself for having that reaction. Even more so after seeing her a couple of times this week. She’s vibrant, energetic, enthusiastic and accepting of her diagnosis with more strength and positivity than I gave her credit for, even through her changing physicality.
Similarly, another very special friend was diagnosed at the age of 17 with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy – a weakness and wasting away of limb muscles. She’s in her early 30’s and led an active life until the point of diagnosis. A few weeks ago she was bungee jumping off a dizzying height, followed in tandem by the experience of sampling Mopane Worms – a LARGE, edible caterpillar. My idea of adventure is a lovely, DRIVEN experience through a scenic countryside. So when I questioned my friend’s sanity, her emphatic response was that life is meant to be lived.
I believe in the adage that, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And in these two beautiful humans, I was taught invaluable life lessons. I am no stranger to crisis and I often wax lyrical about finding the gifts in them, yet my conditioned response to these two women, was to engage them with sympathy. What a small mind-set to have, and what a stunning lesson to have learnt. I’ve watched in awe, the way in which these two women have dealt with their respective diseases and how they both now choose to live their lives – fully and completely present in the now. Each moment for them counts, each day of good health is one to be celebrated in gratitude. Life for them is about creating memories and cherishing the good times. How fortunate am I to have such amazing teachers in my life!
We cognitively know that life is precious and a moment of impact can change it forever. But, we actually take for granted the enormity of what this actually means. Don’t wait for something cataclysmic to happen before making a change. Don’t waste time waiting for the perfect moment to say something to someone, or to do something, or to take the leap toward the life of your dreams. Everything can change in an instant and there is absolutely no guarantee that tomorrow will come. There is also no meritocratic system in this world, bad shit happens to good people. But, through the bad shit, there is always a lesson. And you need to pay attention to what the universe is trying to tell you.
Maybe you’re cruising and not doing what you’re meant to be doing. Maybe you’re lazy as fuck and letting life pass you by. Maybe you’re so focused on negativity that you just create more and more of it, and don’t see any possibility. Maybe you’re a perpetual victim so the world simply hands your ass to you, time and again. Whatever it is, your current life situation is telling you something. How you FEEL is telling you something. And the time is NOW to make that change, if you want to, towards a more fulfilling life…or, remain the same, and live with regrets later on. The choice is yours, so are the consequences.
The lesson for me, was a reminder of the tenacity of the human spirit and its ability to transcend anything. More than that, is the wake-up call I needed to step up, and be more fierce, more courageous, more compelling with my truth…just more. I made a promise to myself four years ago that I would never play small and these two women served as a reminder to myself, of that commitment.