Making the most

Last week as I was sitting in the pharmacy waiting area at CVS, I found the gentleman at the register looking over at me trying to figure out why he recognized me. He studied me. I studied in response. It clicked.

8-20 Page 4A.indd“You used to write for the paper,” he half asked, half stated.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I miss reading your stories,” he said. “I keep hoping that you will make a guest appearance or come back.”

This exchange got me thinking about how much I have missed writing for The Courier. To the gentleman at CVS, this is for you. Thanks for inspiring me to make a comeback.

News of Robin Williams’ suicide really made me sad, and it also made me think about my life and mortality. Death has a way of doing this for the living. After news of his suicide circulated, what followed was information about a recent Parkinson’s diagnosis. While it isn’t a death sentence, the disease would certainly change one’s life dramatically. This news made the wheels in my brain turn a little more feverishly.

When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, it changed my perspective on life. In theory, she is “cancer-free” thanks to a lumpectomy, six weeks of radiation treatments and five years’ worth of oral chemotherapy treatments. Although she still works full-time and is the epitome of the Energizer Bunny, the combination of cancer treatments and 71 years of life have started to show a little in the form of naps after work or on weekends.

I remember being devastated when she sat me down to tell me about the cancer diagnosis, but after processing the news, I made a deliberate decision that I, we, were going to enjoy every minute we had together. Part of my sadness in learning about Robin Williams’ decision to end his life was that his choice, unfortunately, eliminated endless opportunities for him and his family to truly make the most of every day they had together.

All of our days are numbered, but what would you do if you knew how much time you had left on this earth? How would your perspective change? Or would it? Most of us don’t know how many days we have ahead of us, which is why it is so important to make the most of every day we have.

This doesn’t mean we shirk the responsibilities of everyday life: there are still jobs to work, bills to pay and households to run. It does mean that we take the time to laugh and listen, to love and hug, to be intentional in our relationships, to enjoy the little things like a home-cooked meal with our families.

Cliché as it is, I will leave you with this: “The past — it is history. The future — it is a mystery. Every new day — right now — is a gift, and this is why we call it the present.” How will you make the most of your everyday?

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