I was working with my friend, Paula (who was also my boss) at a spring fashion show. All of the proceeds were going to benefit a local charity. We had so much fun designing the different outfits, decorating the venue and seeing our vision become a reality as we watched the models walk down the runway. Everything went beautifully. The show was a huge success! While we were packing things up afterwards, I happily began offering ideas to Paula about how we could make the next years’ show even better. Paula had been struggling with cancer. She quietly replied, “I’m not going to be here next year.” She had always been very optimistic about her treatments, but what she said next changed my life forever. Paula said, “I want to be here next year. I want to watch my two twin boys grow up and have grandchildren someday. I want to do so many things. I want to live. I want to live. I WANT TO LIVE, but I can’t. You have the gift of life. What are you going to do with it?” In tears, we held each other because we knew she was speaking the truth. This was the last time that I saw Paula.
Why am I telling this tragic story? Because the sadness that I felt, inspired me to discover what really mattered in my own life. I created a list to live by and wrote out my priorities, goals and wishes. In doing so, I realized there were meaningless activities that I needed to give up and replace with something worthwhile. I resolved to be intentional in creating good memories, grateful for what I have been blessed with and to live with the purpose of loving myself and others well. This has made all the difference! Up until that conversation, I was just existing: doing the next thing and looking for someone or something to make me happy. Paula’s simple question forced me to look into the mirror and to decide how I really wanted to live my life.
I would like to say the same thing to you. “You have the gift of life. What are you going to do with it? ”
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” Oscar Wilde