Karen was a vibrant and passionate young woman until she began suffering from debilitating migraines. They often hit out of nowhere and when they did, she would spend days in a darkened room immobilized, sleeping or waiting for them to pass. Medications barely made a dent in the pain. Additionally, Karen’s home life was painful. Her husband catered to every single wish of his family of origin, often at her expense. More often than not, she found herself at odds with his manipulative and vindictive family. She became increasingly unhappy that her husband defended them but never her.
Married life bumped along and Karen had two beautiful boys that she just adored. Not far into their young lives, and many severe migraines later, Karen’s doctors discovered a grapefruit-sized brain tumor. If they didn’t operate, the migraines would increase in frequency and severity, and the tumor would continue growing, eventually crushing her brain. They wanted to schedule surgery immediately. Because of the location of the tumor, she had a 50/50 chance of surviving the operation.
Karen couldn’t live with the blinding pain of severe migraines. She called her mother, made peace with her decision, and settled a few accounts. She understood that going under the knife meant this might be the last time she would ever see members of her family. But, it might mean living the rest of her life migraine free. What she hoped and prayed for was more time. At that time, Karen was just 31 years of age.
Though few of us may face such an extreme health crisis, many of us take our time for granted. We plod through our days living as though we have forever when really, we don’t. Life is short. Unexpected events occur and far too often, lives end without really being lived. We may remain in unhealthy relationships, work jobs we don’t really care about and survive one day to the next, in circumstances that are neither life-affirming nor joyful.
If you were told you only had a short time left, what would you do with your remaining time? Would you take that cruise you kept putting aside? Would you make peace with that relative who offended you so long ago you don’t remember the offense? Would you hug your loved ones closer and spend more time with your friends? Would you reach out to more people? How do you want them to remember you?
We must recognize that we have a full life to live and a purpose—a light to shine if you will. No one has the right to minimize that light in us. Our purpose is a responsibility to ourselves and to others and we must guard it. That requires us to be honest with ourselves about where we are in our lives. We must constantly evaluate our circumstances—not how we hope or wish it would be, but—as they truly are. When we face the truth, we may gain startling revelations. We may realize that toxic person will not likely ever change. The job will not get better. The circle of people we’re currently interacting with is holding us back. That thing we’ve been setting aside should be done now rather than later.
And that’s just the “Out with the bad” side of the equation. What good things are we missing out on because our time and energy is zapped with negative circumstances?
Thankfully Karen survived the surgery. Her brush with death changed her perspective. She decided life was too short to be miserable and not living up to her full potential. After much soul-searching, she made a radical shift. Karen began a new life with her boys and became a happy, healthy and whole parent.
If you’re not really where you want to be in your own life, what will be your call to action? For some the answer is simple, for others, it will be complicated. Just don’t settle. Be great! How would it feel to be living that life right now? What would it look like? How would your day be different than it is right now?
Why live a lukewarm life when you could have a passionate one where every day feels exciting?What has to happen for you to get there? Now… just begin.