December 20, 2006
Second Inspiration For The Season
Last week we highlighted a person with ALS who had a remarkable attitude toward her illness and emphasized the fact that we always have choices and we certainly have choices as to how we are going to experience ourselves in the midst of whatever may come our way. This week I continue with the theme and take some sections of a column written in Newsday by Lauren Terrazzano.
Evidently, she had to deal with cancer and she has some lessons to share with others about her experience. First she notes the importance of time. Most of us are oblivious to time in the sense that we tend to let most of it go by unnoticed. We seem to think we have an endless amount of time and so why bother cherishing anything but the moments that stand out and let the rest of the pedestrian moments pass by?
Lauren sees it otherwise when you are confronted with your mortality; for her and many others in her situation time is paramount and each second precious: "The value of time. Down to the day. The minute, the second. We are forced to confront our own mortality every day. We see the bus coming straight at us, while other people never knew what hit them. So we cram as much life as we can into whatever time there is left . . ."
When time cannot be taken for granted, you tend to order your priorities quite intensely. You never "waste time" or "kill time." You are always aware of the limits of life. So what does she recommend to all? In a word: live! Don't put off your plans, hopes and dreams. There is no guarantee of any future when those desired goals will be granted to you. She has a list of things that you should consider doing (along with many more obviously that would be relevant to the particular situations in your life).
I will mention a few of the ones she suggests: 1. Get married. What are you waiting for? 2. Get a divorce. Why be with someone who doesn't make you happy? 3. Have a baby. Or adopt one. Or choose neither option and be happy with your decision to have a child-free life. You're not getting any younger. 5. Order your dessert as your first course and your last course in a fancy restaurant. 6. Go to Iceland to soak in thermal mineral baths. 7. Lose your fear of flying. Really. It's limiting your view of the world. 8. Advise that chronic complainer with the 'woe is me' complex that he or she could benefit from a good anti-depressant. Realize you are that person sometimes. 9. Tell your family and friends you love them. 10. Don't give power to those who have shown a pattern of hurting you.
As she says, "you get the idea." The holidays are a time when we ideally embrace concepts of caring and fellowship with our family, friends and neighbors. Lauren is reminding you that while the holidays are a special time of year, that in actuality, every breath you take is a special time of year. So enjoy your next breath and let me know what you think.
Frank Mosca Ph.D. is a licensed counselor, life and marital coach with a practice in Hampton Bays and Garden City. You can see his views at puttingmindsinmotion.com.