The last few days I have spent a lot of time in the hospital. On Friday my grandmother had to be admitted to the hospital...I literally had to carry her out of the house b/c she didn't have the strength to move, get her into the car and rush her to the emergency room. She was in the hospital the day before, as well as, ten days prior. This is very surprising b/c at 80 years old she has more energy then people 20 years younger and has been a picture of health since I can remember.
As I sat in the emergency room (for nearly 5 hours) I saw so many people come and go for various reasons. I have spent countless hours in this hospital visiting my grandfather before he passed away and now I find myself virtually living there again as my grandmother recovers from her health issues. She is on the road to recovery now and has the "fire" I know so well. While I had been in this hospital many time before I have never actually been present in the emergency room for that much time so, quite frankly, I was pretty humbled by what I saw and heard.
While I would never wish that someone spend time in the emergency room (other then if that is their career) I do believe it can teach you a lot about what is important in life. I left that day with a lot on my mind...first, I was concerned for my grandmother and, second, I left thinking about what is truly important in life. I realized that our health and every second of everyday is a gift, a gift that we should cherish and respect. Everything we have can be taken away from us so quickly, sometimes before we even know it, which is why we have to live life to the fullest. I certainly don't mean live life recklessly, but really do all you can to live a healthy, active lifestyle and do your best to keep a smile on your face and find the good in everything and everyone. I am totally guilty of being in a bad mood, being impatient, and letting small things irritate me but experiences like I had in the emergency room make me feel so small and petty for getting caught up in negativity.
There are a couple people in my life that have taught me to really go after life and to treat everyday as your last. My buddy Mike (that I have know for 25 years now) has taught me the most about this. He is a VERY positive person that helps me realize that life is what you make of it and there is always something positive in every situation. It's people like this that I rely on and look to when I am not my happy, relaxed self. I feel so lucky to have friends like Mike that help me to really put things into perspective.
I am not writing this to get sympathy or anything, I just hope that everyone sees where I am coming from. I am a big believer in chasing your dreams and following your heart so I can't help but sound off on my experiences from the past few days. It is such a cliche to say "live life to the fullest" and we all know this, right? Hardly, I think we have all heard this but most people say it is a great concept and forget about it. I know we all have busy lives and stress is ever-present but I just think we can all (especially me) do a better job smiling, laughing and finding the good in even the most difficult and challenging situations. Being in the hospital was just a reminder that life is short and we all owe it to ourselves to make the most of it and to live it up as much as possible. So, just make sure to think about how lucky you are and how valuable life is. I try to ask myself often "if I died tomorrow would I die knowing I did all I could to live the life I have imagined?" Sure, I have a lot of life left but that doesn't mean that everyday I can't get closer to the life I have imagined. Life is truly about the journey, not about the destination!
On another note I read an artice that Jessica passed over to me the other night and there was an interesting questions asked...
"What do you know FOR SURE?"
Give it some thought b/c it is an important question to ask yourself and one you'll probably never have all the answers to.
What do I know for sure?
1. Life is short so don't waste it!
2. Follow your heart and you'll never be wrong.
3. Find your passion and then find a way to make a living at it.
4. Happiness is a choice.
5. You need to look at yourself in the mirror everyday and be proud of the decisions you have made.
6. Smiling and uncontrolled laughter is infectious, you can't get enough of it, and there is no better feeling in the world.
7. Helping others comes back to you ten-fold.
8. You can dream all you want but it's those that really go after their dreams that achieve success beyond what they have ever imagined.
I am sure my list could go on but what I really know for sure is fairly limited...there is a lot of life still to live and I will continue to ask myself this question and I hope you will too.
-My grandma just a week before she went into the hospital for the first time.
P.S. I hope this serves as some motivation for you to do some thinking and to really uncover what is truly important to you. We can all spend our lives chasing the big house, the nice car, whatever but, at the end of the day, I don't care what anyone else says, we will spend our last moments in this life with family, friends and our own past...I just want to look back and know that I loved, laughed and lived everyday like it was my last.