Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If you knew you were going to die... would probably start living your life differently. You know it's true.

My best guess is almost everyone who faces a life threatening disease experiences a stunning moment of realization - "Holy crap, this might kill me!" And it is this fear, this acknowledgement of mortality, that brings a lot of us quickly to the conclusion that we have to start making better life choices now.

These days, I see this most obviously in my parenting. I don't feel like I have the latitude to make mistakes that I might have had before. If I die in the next few years, my children are going to remember the way I treated them now. So I remind myself to be more patient, and less quick to anger. I try to make a better effort to make the consequences match the infraction, to catch them being good more often, to find the teachable moments that are meaningful and relevant. And, when I screw up I apologize, quickly and sincerely.

You have probably seen those bucket lists where people advocate making life changes before they, um, kick it. Before I was diagnosed, I thought I paid attention to the messages they contained. But in reality, I forgot about them pretty quickly. Then cancer came, shoved me up against the wall and smacked me so hard upside the head that I am still spinning. And the penny dropped.

So, if I could have just a moment of your time, could I ask you to just believe me. If you were in my shoes, you would see the need for more thoughtful living. It would resonate in your soul in a way few other things do. And I would really rather that you not have to get cancer to learn this lesson.

So, starting now I begin my list of the new choices I am making in my life. I'm going to try to make this a daily posting. If you are so inspired, please share your own. Which reminds me what my first choice was going to be...

1. Talk less and listen more.

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