Thank you Steve for putting words to my thoughts.
Click here to see why you and I are really special and why today is so precious.
I am more...
than what I look like
than what I say
than what I'm good at
than what I like
than what roles and titles I have
I am more...
than what I think about
than what I dream about
than what I know
than what I believe
I am more...
than what I have done
than what I can do
than what I want to do
than what I will do
I am more...
than how fast I run
than how strong I am
than how high I jump
than how smart I am
I am more...
than the successes I had
than the people I love
than the money I have
than the smile I wear
I am more...
than the mistakes I made
than the people I have wronged
than the money I lost
than the scars I wear
I am more...
than where I've been
than where I am
than where I'm going
I am more...
than when I was born
than when I will die
I am more than who others think I am.
I am more.
Once in a very rare blue moon, a story comes along that takes my breath away, pulls out the tears hidden deep in my ducts and rips my attention away from everything else. In return, the story gives back an undying admiration to the choices made, the inspiration to live courageously and a fresh perspective on 'sweating my small stuff'.
I am in awe of the mother's compassion and the singer's courage.
Enjoy the blue moon.
It seems to be all around me. I don't know if it's because I am getting older and more aware, or if it's because there are more cases of it, or that I've just been 'unlucky' to have had more contact with it recently.
My wife had it two years ago and is in remission. My mom just got operated and had it taken out. My friend's mom just passed away because of it. The couple who my kids adopted as their third set of grandparents both got diagnosed with it. A close friend of my father (and the man who married my wife and I) will soon lose his wife to it.
It is an insidously spreading, often-don't know-you-have-it-until-it's-too-late, never-sure-if-it's-gone, playing-the-odds disease.
And the more I ponder on cancer and its treatement, the more I see it as a paradox. Here's how:
- It is the only illness that the treatment (chemo) is actually worse than the disease itself
- It is really just too much of a good thing (cells proliferate too much)
- It is the treatment's goal to kill everything good to make sure it gets all the bad
- Everybody has varying degrees of it
- When one has it, it seems everyone has a thought about what we should do, and most have no idea what they are talking about
- Scanning for it too often may actually provoke it
- Once you're done the treatment, there is a sword of Damocles for years hanging over one's head
- We know next-to-nothing about it. We are still learning, it's not an exact science, and it keeps us humble
There is, however, something beautiful I have discovered when you are a part of those affected by it. When you talk to patients and survivors, to the cancer community, there are no pretentions, no masks, no hypocrisy. What you see truly is what you get. I desperately wish is that we could extend this openness and honesty to everyone without the necessity of going through a horrible cancer.
xkcd brilliantly put his own learnings on cancer in the cartoon below or here.
When Ms. Bronnie Ware, a woman who worked for years with the dying, wrote a list of the top 5 regrets people say aloud on their deathbed, I teared up a little bit. Here is her original text. May it be as much a blessing to you as it was for me.
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
by Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable
Illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
You will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
When a doe-eyed entrepreneur comes to see me for advice, I tell them 4 things:
This video, from GetOnTheRollercoaster.com, amazingly describes what I've been through... 3 times.
In the last year, I've reflected on life's big issues, following my wife's cancer and chemotherapy treatments. I have found it healthy to ask myself these profound questions while reviewing the validity of my automated answers. This list comes from Sam Keen.
Enjoy the introspection.
Following some comments on my previous post on the wildly popular Geeks, I was made aware of the Venn Diagram explaining the difference between the oft-confused terms of Geek, Nerd, Dweeb and Dork. Even I was confused, since I was called each of these names at various occasions in my life (don't feel sorry for me, I fully embrace my state).
So following this diagram, I am a Geek. Yes, I know that means I don't consider myself socially inept...
There, now I feel better.
Everything you never wanted to know about the author is on this web site : www.jeanfahmy.com