How do you live every day to the fullest?
It's such a daunting question. It almost gives me anxiety. As if I am supposed to leap out of bed and the crack of dawn, shout carpe-diem! and do something productive.
I was recently asked this question by Heather, a mesothelioma survivor. When I learned more about her story, I instantly felt like my initial reaction to that question was petty, naive, and above all, selfish. I'll get into that in a bit.
Mesothelioma is type of cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs and abdomen. Its primary cause is related to asbestos exposure, and unfortunately it is commonly diagnosed in its advanced stages because it is difficult to distinguish; it mimics many symptoms of other common illnesses. Currently, there is no cure but it is treatable with chemotherapy and surgery. Heather was given mere months to live at the time of her diagnosis - but fortunately, her journey with mesothelioma resulted in her beating the odds. Watch her video to learn more.
Can you sense why I felt so selfish about my answer to her question? We all know that sometimes it takes an extra kick or boost to realize how appreciative we should be - the phrase of "counting your blessings" comes to mind. So, to live every day to the fullest, I think I need to revisit the way I look at that question. I'm a big fan of looking at the "big picture," so I'll take on this question in the same manner. Instead of looking at every day, I want to look at life in general. How do I live? How should I live?
In my humble opinion, slowness matters. Not rushing, not vigorously attacking a to-do list. I mean listening, appreciating, breathing, observing, and being present. It's difficult to do, especially in stressful situations or work. Optimism matters. To live with optimism, positivity, and a sunny demeanor can be difficult or even annoying to some - but I think happiness trumps all. The name of my blog, Anticipation, is loosely based off of this idea. I think having things to look forward to keeps me on my toes, curious, and enthusiastic. Lastly, the company you choose matters. Be about others. Personally, I love being with my family. I still live at home - and while that brings minor annoyances, I don't mind it in the big picture. It keeps me grounded knowing that everyone around me has their own struggles, ups and downs, tendencies and quirks. Being around people does good. I love the job I have, the people I spend my days with, the friends I see and meet, and the things we talk about. There are many other things I do to live well, but these are the essentials.
How do you live?