I’m here in New Zealand as my Dad is having some “health challenges.” I’m not here solely because of that, of course, it’s always an amazing time at the Captain’s house.
We’ve been waiting for excruciating days for results to come in. Yesterday, he and I entered a slime green room with fluorescent lighting to meet with his medical team of two. With carefully chosen words they explained what we were looking at and we were collectively sorry that it was not the news we had been praying for.
My Dad radiated his cooler than a cucumber energy so I latched my wobbly energy onto his, to ride in his slipstream of calm. We are stoic in the face of adversity on this side of my family.
I definitely take after my mother’s side.
We left the room in silence and I hooked my arm through Dad’s.
“Coffee or whiskey?” he asked, although the clock has not yet struck 11 am.
We opted for coffee before getting into the car for the hour’s drive home. We began comfortably chatting in our easy way about not important stuff, peppered with smatterings of important stuff. We had many moments of silence as we let the news wash over us and sink into our bones while the vibrant green Northland hills rolled past our windows.
“I think I might get that car I’ve been thinking about,” he said of the fancy pants car he’s quite fancied himself fanging around in for a time.
“I think you should.”
I’m not writing a whole post about my Dad’s private business, just a snippet, but it’s an important snippet.
It’s important because it’s made me realise something very important that I need to tell you right now.
Don’t wait until a doctor delivers news you don’t want to hear before you do ‘the thing.’ Don’t wait to book that trip you’ve always dreamed of but feared you can’t afford.
Don’t wait until the kids grow up to leave, or choose you, or follow your dreams.
Don’t wait to mend the rift. Don’t wait to declare your love.
You think that you have all the time in the world but then suddenly something happens that makes you realise that you don’t. None of us do, of course. For we are all as illness prone, accident prone, malfunction prone as each other.
We could snuff it at any minute in a freak accident crossing the road, or catching a train. Perhaps a sudden faulty brain blip and before you can say “cheese sandwich” you’re on the kitchen floor bathed in the light of the fridge with the cat as your final audience.
Just stop waiting for the perfect time to do shit. Now is precisely the right time and whatever that thing is that you desire for your life, you deserve it.
Life is to be lived, not survived.
So often lately I’ve felt as though I’m surviving. I’m working to get money, to pay bills, to buy groceries. I’m on autopilot, making school lunches, after school activities, the Ground Hog Day of life that you simply cannot avoid.
But there is more. You just need to choose it. Maybe you need to decide what it is first, but don’t give up thinking about it.
When I was working at The Weekly I interviewed the divine Emma Betts who penned the blog Dear Melanoma. She was living with stage four melanoma at the time after a stranger had pointed out an unusual mole on her back on a diving trip.
Emma was living the best, fullest life she could but she had been given a terminal prognosis.
She got married and went on holidays and she truly lived, however, she had some other wise words you need in conjunction with what I’ve just said.
I can’t remember her words verbatim but she said to me something to the effect that you simply cannot live every day as if it’s your last. Many people said that to her, “make the most of every day,” and it’s something we all have shoved at us, but it’s not actually feasible.
It’s positively exhausting.
Emma wished just for normal days of mundane things with no pressure to anything more than her energy permitted. Emma passed away, at age 25, in April 2017 and I was sad although it was inevitable.
Here’s the rub… we live these mortal lives where practically reigns supreme. No matter how rich we get we will always have responsibilities. Only a true narcissist asswipe shuns all their responsibilities so you should avoid being that person, but also don’t be someone who sits permanently in life’s waiting room watching it all fly by.
Because it will.
Don’t wait another day to do “the thing,” and don’t not pursue something for fear of fucking it up. Go for it. Fuck it up with gusto and learn along the way because that growth is when our survival becomes something much more.
Our survival becomes life worth living for.
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