Why is it that sometimes it takes a defining moment or the prospect of death to make us realise what is important and teach us, in an instant, how important it is to live in the moment.
Let me put this another way …
Why is it that when we are in a situation where time, all of a sudden, could be running out, we readjust our thinking and suddenly we can see clearly what is important in our lives?
After that statement I think I’d better explain!
11 years ago my husband and I made a decision to return to N. Ireland after 25 years living in S. Africa. Our decision was based on the future prospect and safety for our children and was not an easy one to make. Although S. Africa was not my birth home it was my husband’s home country and he would be leaving his family behind. We had a successful TV program at the time running on National TV and, all in all, business-wise we were doing very well. So it was difficult to walk away, especially since we were moving to a country where we both did not have jobs to go to.
About 8 months before we left, I had some unusual symptoms that I knew needed a Doctor to investigate and this resulted in a brain scan at the local hospital in Cape Town.
When the results of the scan came out, right after the scan I was told to report to a neurosurgeon in the Hospital and was not allowed to leave the scanning department until I had spoken to the surgeon. The urgency of the situation dawned on me.
I had to take the scan in an envelope to another department and hand it in to reception. When I did this, the sister in charge opened the envelope and told me I had a macro adenoma and had to stay to see the surgeon.
For those of you who need to be enlightened, a macro adenoma is a tumour that is defined as macro rather than micro due to its circumference. As the scan was on my brain, I knew the tunour was in my brain somewhere. My profession throughout the years has always been in the health field; either teaching or working in a medical company and so being privy to that information threw up all possible connotations in my mind, relating to where the tumour was and what would be its effect.
My husband sat with me outside the office of the neurosurgeon and we waited.
We waited for 50 minutes, at least, and those 50 minutes of time changed my life. In front of me, in the waiting room, was a notice board with health posters and other pieces of information. I tried to read them to get my mind off what the surgeon was going to tell me, but I could not focus. All I could see were images of my two young girls floating across the board. Then there was my husband beside me, just as scared as me, and all I could do was think of him as well.
How would he cope? How would he manage to bring the kids up?
Why me? It’s not fair – I want to see my kids grow up and leave school and get married.
How will this affect them … losing a mother so young? My daughters at this stage were 5 and 6 years old.
In that 50 minutes, my family were the only part of my life that came into my head. Not my business, not my life in S. Africa … not my friends … nothing else. I was scared that what the surgeon would tell me would cheat me out of my time with my young girls and my husband. I married at the age of 35 and had my first daughter at 40, so having children was something I had left until “later” and for me had been a major decision.
When we sat down in front of the surgeon, I was amazed at how relaxed he was and in a way, that gave me the feeling that maybe this was not as serious as I thought and lucky for me it was not. The tumour was on my pituitary gland, at the base of the brain, and it was benign and not malignant.
When he told me this information, it was like being given a second chance. The feeling was amazing and, as we walked out of his office, I felt like I was walking on air. My senses were so acute; I could smell all the smells around and I noticed everyone in the office and felt I was the luckiest person alive.
It was an amazing feeling and the experience, in that short space of time, had changed me for the rest of my life. Of course, since then, I have had surgery to remove the tumour and there is a story attached to that as well. But knowing that it was benign, and operable, and also slow-growing was music to my ears.
That was about 11 years ago and today I consider myself lucky for the experience. Not that I wish this on anyone, but the fact that I have been given a chance in my life to know what it feels like with the possibility of life running short. It has meant that I appreciate every day … and I really do!
I do not yearn for the past, wondering what could or should have been. Nor do I sit and stare into the future dreaming of things that could never be. When I find myself doing either of these, I quickly pull myself back into the present, reminding myself how important it is to utilise and optimize my enjoyment in the NOW. After all, which of us know how long the NOW will last?
Owning my NOW has become very important in my life. I know that our timeline only travels in one direction; when the day has gone, it has gone. My mother, who is now in her eighties, will only get older with the days before just memories in her mind.
I think that where this really hits us straight on is when we hear, on the media, about the death of someone from our youth or we hear about them and are told their age. Just this morning, on my way into college, I listened to an interview with Julie Andrews. She has just released an album, and is approaching her 80th Birthday.
I still see her as a young beautiful woman, running in the hills, singing “The sound of music.” That picture of Julie Andrews as a young woman was imprinted on my mind and it brought back memories of when, as young children, we were all singing those songs and dreaming of being Julie Andrews with the handsome Captain Von Trap.
Ah … its great to dream.
Live in the NOW. Remember that the actions we take and the emotions we experience now, will inevitably shape the unfolding of our future and will influence the happiness we feel both now and in the future. Our physical presence on this planet is short-lived, so we need to enjoy the moments while we are here. Give to people and it will bring meaning into your life.
Learn from your experiences of yesterday; learn from them and move on. Look to the future with a sense of wonder and adventure. Dare to live, each moment of every day, and meaning and fulfilment will come into your life. Remember the NOW.
Article by Kathy Davison
Kathy Davison has worked in the Health and Personal Development field for the last 35 years. Her speciality group includes teenagers and young adults and deals with the issues that surround them.
Visit her website here … http://www.myhealthbusiness.info