I write this at the end of a long, emotional day.
One friend is fighting for the life of her baby girl – born too early, with a severe, congenital heart defect and other complications. Another is dealing with bi-polar depression. A third is supporting her husband through cancer. A fourth is promoting her role as an ‘ambassador’ for the Warwick Foundation (for young adults with cancer) having brought herself through this as a single working mum of two…
From where I sit, I feel pretty lucky. And slightly nervous…
On the other hand, my parents turn eighty this year – both of them. Married for nearly sixty years, with two kids and five grandchildren – they could be accused of living a ‘charmed life’. They had their ups and downs – the nineteen years that they tried for children being the main down – and they’ve supported my sister and I through some stuff over the years (real stuff – big stuff), at an age when they’d probably rather be swanning around to their Probus meetings and ‘coffee, craft and chat’ groups.
Where am I going with this article, exactly?
I coached someone this week about the fact that she’s passionate about a truly valuable service for parents, that no-one else is offering … but she’s sabotaging its development with an array of other distractions caused by fear of failure and the need for security…
I coached someone else who is unhappy in her job, but it offers enticing reasons to stay – unrelated to her enjoyment of her professional life and, by extension, her passion for home life…
A friend’s husband had an accident at work this week and wound up in the emergency ward, requiring surgery to extract bits of whatever the power tool was that was entrenched in him after something hideous happened. A close call.
My eleven-year old wants to give up ballet after seven years, months before finally reaching ‘pointe shoes’… and I’m in two minds…
Am I not listening to everything I’ve just written?
‘I don’t like it anymore…’
‘I don’t want to be girly – I want to be sporty…’
And my response?
‘You love ballet. You committed to the performance group. Give it another term…’
What if she doesn’t love ballet? What if this makes her miserable? (Admittedly, it’s hard to pick – she’s always been averse to new things and her new teacher is a man, and that’s thrown her…)
But really. How can I watch my friends going through what they’re enduring and at the same time encourage my daughter to waste a single second of her life doing something that doesn’t bring her joy.
And so I ask this. Are you doing something that doesn’t bring you joy? Are you ‘enduring’ something? Are you ‘surviving’?
We live our lives mostly oblivious to how easily they can be snuffed out. How quickly something can go from ‘run-of-the-mill’ to dire…
We wait for a wake-up call, thinking they only happen to other people, instead of being ahead of the game. Are we proactive about living the life that is truly congruent with who we are?
So, in honour of the friends in my life who are battling things I hope never to face, I ask you this: Are you honouring your potential? Are you giving life all you’ve got?
I know a baby in ICU right now who is fighting with all of her might, just for the chance to have the luxury that we all have … time.
In her honour, I’m going to be much more aware this week about how I’m using the time that is given to me.
And you know what? Ballet lessons? Whatever.
Follow your bliss…
Photo: © mybaitshop – Fotolia.com