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In the End

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There’s nothing like a life-threatening situation to put things into perspective.

There I was in the family O.R. waiting room. I prayed. Between petitions, I was replaying in my head what the doctor had said an hour ago.

”Her blood pressure is too elevated. Her heart rate is uncontrollable. There’s no blood flow in her right leg. It's a clot -- several, in fact. It’s a risk, but a surgery is the only option to save the leg.

You have to consider that you may save the leg, but her history dictates that she might not survive the general anesthesia. On the table, there might be nothing we can do.”

There was no time to waste. The doctor was sure of one thing -- they were out of options. They prepped her for surgery.

It happened in a whirlwind. The hour and a half scramble had felt like days.  

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Sitting in that waiting room during her surgery, I noticed how well-orchestrated things had been.  It was like watching God's brilliant puppeteering.  

The curtain-walled area she was in didn’t seem large enough to accommodate everyone. There was a storm of E.R. doctors, surgeons, nurses, vampires (the people that collect the blood -- I forget the title), anesthesiologists, ultrasound and x-ray technicians. 

I had no idea how the room could fit the people needed to save my 84-year old mother's life, but somehow there was room.  Despite the chaos and the fear, everything flowed. Nobody got in anyone's way.

If you've ever played dominoes with a Hispanic grandfather, imagine their smooth shuffling of all those pieces. It was a graceful fury of movement.  

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We were the only few people in that pre-op room. We watched them prep her for surgery. As we said our goodbyes and ‘see you laters’ it broke my heart to see tears streaming down my mother’s face. 

She was fearful -- no one could blame her. Things like a life-saving surgery would be scary to 99% of the people I know.

But in that waiting room, I wondered if any of those tears were coming from a place of regret. I wondered if maybe she'd felt that there were things left undone.

I wondered how many people in that situation have that same thought. It's the cliched ‘my life flashed right before my eyes’ moment. If this was the case for her or if it’s the case for others in a similar situation, what does that flashback look like? 

I recently cracked open this conversation with a dear friend. They asked me how much control someone might have of that flashback moment. 

Of course I answered that we have absolute control. I'm not saying we can control whatever memories may pop up in that moment -- I've not experienced one myself, after all.

But we can at least control what memories we’re storing in the bank.

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So here’s a question for you (I apologize if it seems morbid):

What are you doing to make sure remorse or regret won't be a part of the end of your life?

I know that’s a big one for me. I try not to leave for tomorrow any playing that I could do today. I'm not saying we shouldn't feel sad about the people we're leaving behind or that life itselfisn't something worth lamenting over. But are we paying enough attention to how unpredictable the end can be? Are we making sure to strive for what we want before it comes?

So many of us wait and wait for that elusive someday to start living the life of our dreams. We wait to take the chances and make the changes to start living our destiny. 

We are living as if we have all the time in the world to get to it.

Well... we don't!

Even if you die at 100, if you're not living that life you want, you're going to have 100 years of complacency and settling for bullshit and some major suckage. 

I challenge you to start being more purposeful about your life,your relationships, and your happiness.

So answer these questions for yourself:

1) Are you living life on purpose or just going through the motions thinking you have all the time in the world to ‘eventually’ get to it?

So many people I speak with are just living life how it happens to them instead of getting out there and creating the life they want. 

It can be more comfortable to stand in the sidelines and wait for life to happen rather than stretch beyond that comfort. But something amazing is waiting for you on the other side of comfort. That's where any life worth living is happening.  That’s where you need to be.

2) If you died today, what would be your greatest regret? There's time to recover.  What are you going to do about it? If you don’t know it yet, work on figuring that out now, now, now.

3) What relationships need mending, growing, building and initiating?  Stop waiting already! We spend so much time on the accumulation of shit we can’t take with us, yet neglect our relationships and impact on others.

Your positive impact and fond memories are the only things worth leaving behind.  Leaving this world better than it was when you came here, in my opinion, is the great purpose of life.

4) How can you make sure you are living the happiest version of your life?  If you don’t know right off the top of your head, start making a list.  Figure it out, look into what makes you happy (truly happy!) If it makes you smile from ear to ear just thinking about it, do more of that (unless you're sadistic -- don't do that).

If you aren’t already, start enjoying your journey today. When the journey is over, it’s over.  But until then, make it awesome!

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