Choosing to Live every moment
Schedules, jobs, engagements, and even family gatherings are part of everyday life. A typical day for all of us includes, but not limited to, going to work, eating lunch, going home, maybe working out, pick up/drop off kids, attend extracurricular activities, visit family members, caretake for family members, work 2nd, 3rd or even 4th job, and somewhere in the middle, pray and attend church.
What also happens everyday is that we lack the ability to have a true appreciation for having a job, family, health, support, being able to breath fresh air, seeing, walking, chewing, birds, friends, and even emotions. Why? Why do we become immune to the appreciation of all the details in our lives? Why do we lose that child-like appreciation for everything? Why don't we skip around with a smile on our face? What happens to us?
Well, truth be told, I have NO IDEA!!!! I contribute it to the fact that we are too busy to stop and "smell the roses". We have immediate gratification for everything, food, texts, emails, phone calls, does anyone still fax? It's crazy!!! So, who has time to appreciate the smell of freshly brewed coffee or the sound of birds or the site of a beautiful butterfly? Right?! We become robots of our own lives. Maybe we are bored or even worse, content and not fulfilled. We become methodical. Maybe, we are just too busy.
This doesn't mean that we have a terrible life or that we are unhappy. No, but somehow we have missed the ability to stop and feel the sun on your face when you first walk out of your house or just going for a walk because it's gorgeous outside. We are always rushing to the next event that we have. Like I said, we are too busy, but not unhappy, just too busy; there is a difference.
Then, you are hit with the biggest nightmare of your life....
The death of a parent...
Being busy is inevitable for most of us. But life/God has a plan and our busy schedule is not a part of that plan.
Losing a parent or the person in your life that played that parental role can/will happen at any given point of your life. This loss forces you to reflect on your whole life. Not just the last 5 or 10 years, but your whole life. You think back about all the times you behaved like a bratty teenager to your parent, every time you lied to him/her, every time you didn't answer her/his phone call, or even worse, every time you did not visit just because you were being lazy or "didn't feel like it".
The loss of a parent has a funny way of making us reflect. And the irony of it is, that while it makes you reflect on your life decisions, this very same tragedy also allows you to adapt a new appreciation to life. Those regrets become motivations to be better.
Reflection also involves questioning your own mortality. You realize you are here today but be gone tomorrow. You simply stop. And not stop to stay in a depressive state, but stop to enjoy the 20 minute conversation with your nephew/niece, to make a point of expressing your feelings to loved ones every time you see them, to understand that work is work as well as a separate entity from your personal life, to have the courage to leave a job because it no longer fulfills you, to take chances, and more importantly, to understand money does not buy you happiness.
All of a sudden, your quote every single "saying" your parent said to you through-out your life. You become more like your parent, at an alarming rate. You even go as far to wonder if he/she might be able to see you while you are doing something not "parent approved" now!! It happens to all of us. How great would it be if we learned all of this before we suffered the loss of a parent?
Losing a parent leaves a vacant spot in your heart like no other. It feels like a piece of you dies along with them. The mourning feels unbearable. Saying, "my parent passed" seems like an impossible set of words to articulate.
However, once the heartbreak starts to alleviate, you start to develop a new perspective on life. Life is too short. Those small things that drove you crazy seem insignificant now. You enjoy regaining child-like appreciation of small things. You take the opportunity to enjoy time with friends and families before anything else. You learn there is a difference between having a job/career and being passionate about a job/career. You say I love you more often. You take chances and not fear change, sometimes it is exactly what you need. Your relationship with your faith strengthens.
If you still have living parents, take time to appreciate them and everything they have done for you. If you have lost a parent, relive the memories. Keep them alive by talking about them. Cry, it's okay!
Regardless of your situation, today is the day to ask if are you truly appreciating your life. Your family? Your friends? Are you passionate about what you do? Do you have a dream you haven't fulfilled? Go for it, it is NEVER too late. Life is short, enjoy it while you can. Stop and smell the roses.