Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Life & Death

Ever heard the old expression, "Life is an open book"? Like a book, life has a beginning, a middle and an end. 
Sadly, a lot of people focus on how the story ends rather than enjoying the development of the characters,  the vivid descriptions, or plot line progressions of the story itself.

Just a few years ago, I was strapped to an IV pole, struggling with pain all over and enduring a terrible smoker's cough though I'd never even taken one puff of a cigarette in my lifetime. Just another miserable day fighting cystic fibrosis.

During that episode, I lived in a constant state of fear. I wasn't worried about how I was going to live my day rather I focused all of my energies on how I could outsmart death. What I didn't realize then was that I should have concerned myself more with the former than the latter.

Why is it so important to worry less about dying than worry more about living? I guess in short, everyone dies but not everyone lives. Yes, we all technically live because each of us breathes but I believe the true definition of living should not just be to inhale and exhale oxygen 24 hours a day. Living, to me, is attempting something that scares you. Living is going somewhere that is outside of your comfort zone. Living is accomplishing feats that are considered improbable.

My definition of living probably varies from many of you. I have lived with an enormous chip on my shoulder since I learned of the mortality rate that came with having this incurable genetic disease.

Living with cystic fibrosis provides me with a tremendous opportunity to view life more appreciatively. We each live only once so really it doesn't matter what ends our tour on this earth. What matters is how much we appreciate our days while we are here.

Does this mean that I am grateful every moment that I spend on this planet? Heck no! There are days when I wonder "Why me?" There are mornings that I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. There are occurrences that cause me to question life's fairness. These moments, however, are brief compared to the times that I relish experiencing another day as a part of our beautiful world.

Too many times I hear people complain about the "small stuff." Why is traffic so slow today? Why is there nothing good on television? Why does it continue to rain?

Perhaps it's perspective.

With traffic being so slow, I have more time for self-analysis or to listen to my favorite CD.

If there's nothing on TV, I can take that time to enjoy my family or take a much-needed nap.

If it continues to rain, I can work on a project that I've been pushing aside for months. I can call someone I haven't talked to in weeks or perhaps months or even years.

Life isn't about dying. If it was, we'd all be the same. It's about living and therefore we are all different. We each have the choice to make the most of every moment. If we don't, there is no one else to blame but ourselves.

The final chapter of your story shouldn't be the best one. Don't just skip to the last page; that's not where life happens. Enjoy your entire story. Make it the best book ever written.

As always, Andy
Live your dreams & love your life

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