Take a breath. Take a moment.
What would you do if you were told you had one hour left to live? What would you do if you knew that in less than 60 minutes your life and everything you’ve become, is about to end? Would you find your purpose right then and there? Would you know exactly what it is that you need to do for the remaining 59 minutes and 40 seconds of your life? Honestly, what would you do? When your head starts to tell you that you would tell your boss to go fuck himself and quit your job or that you’d rob a bank and spend it all, stop and ask your heart. And when your heart starts to tingle and tears involuntarily well up in your eyes you’ll know then that you have found the true answer to that question.
For some of us the reality of death has affected our lives in an empowering way. It touches us deeply and profoundly. It makes us see differently. Feel more intensely. And in a conversation with a beautiful woman yesterday we spoke of life and the pressures we face. We spoke without the knowledge of what the immediate future held for her and her family and the life changing moment that awaited. We spoke about the pressure to look a certain way, drive a certain car or own a certain standard of home… Just to fit in. Just to keep up. Just to feel like we could be accepted among other Superwomen. We both felt that being ourselves and living our lives the way we want to had somehow morphed into a confused and frustrating life of pleasing and impressing others. We spoke about egos, our own included, and the strain of trying to be the type of Superwomen who have successful careers, amazing bodies, the latest cars and beautiful houses. We spoke about how happy we would actually be if we could stop putting those kind of demands on ourselves….
……And then it hit. The stark, blunt and brutal force of reality. That horrible dose of real life that causes the world to stop and for you to see everything you thought was important flash and disappear in front of your eyes. Because everything, everything, comes crashing down and pales in comparison when you realize that you didn’t get to say goodbye. The realization that the last time you talked to them you didn’t appreciate that you would never see or speak to them ever again. It’s the harsh reality that this pain you are feeling marks the nastiest reminder of why we are actually here. Why we are alive on this earth. It takes death for us to comprehend the vulgarity in narcissism. The tastelessness of leading trending and materialistic lives. And I’m guilty! I’m guilty of these things every day. I’m guilty of wanting what other people have. I’m guilty of wanting to be thinner, to be prettier, to have a fancy house, nicer clothes and more money in my bank account. I’m guilty of wanting these things so badly that it makes me mad and then causes me to yell more than I should at my kids just because I’m feeling ripped off. When in truth, I am lucky, lucky because I have everything I need already and then I have lots of other shit that is hardly important at all.
The mortality of life doesn’t mean we can’t have or want nice things. But it is about putting these nice things into perspective. Moving them to the bottom of our daily to-do-lists and placing the important real stuff right up to the top. Real like saying goodbye to your husband even though you’re mad he came home late last night after work. Or real like playing with the kids as soon as they ask you to instead of saying “In a minute” so you can finish updating your Facebook status and commenting on a friend of a friends new photo. REAL like forgiving your family and friends for those moments in time when their egos hurt your ego. All because we know that no one is perfect and no one should strive to be because perfection doesn’t exist.
So can you imagine? Can you imagine having just 56 minutes and 54 seconds left to live? Who would you call? Who would you wrap in your arms and kiss on the forehead? Who would you forgive? What would you say? Would you say “I’m sorry”? “I love you”? What lasting memory of the real you would you want to leave behind? That number on the scale, those body insecurities, and those pretty materialistic possessions won’t mean a damn thing. That don’t define you, they don’t leave a legacy, and they don’t inspire those who grieve you at your headstone in years to come. What you are is an act of love. The nurturing mother, the doting Daddy, the crazy-funny Aunty, the playful Pop. These are the things you leave behind, it’s the act not the ownership that is your legacy. These are the things that define who you are and what memories you leave. So in the next 56 minutes and 36 seconds who are you going to be?
… Written in honour of a Superwoman, who is beautiful in every way, shape and form, whose life and that of her family has just been turned upside down … My heart , thoughts and prayers are with you xxx