It's always good to find the positive in any situation, and since I've been laid up and unable to do a lot this week I have found this silver lining: I've done some mega reflection on things!
I'm writing this a day before I get my blood test results, so I'm still unsure of what the issue has been but I just know it's knocked me for six. I'm pretty sure now that the results will show I've been hit with a nasty virus, but because of my medical history there's always this little thought at the back of my head 'what if it's come back?'
(For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of 17 and was told that although we caught it early and it was very treatable, there was always a chance of it recurring in later life.)
This subtle reminder of mortality is SO valuable, and I'm massively grateful for it. I've had a lot of time while resting up to think about what's really important, and what I would do if I had limited time left. This may sound morbid, but if you're aware that death is inevitable and could rock up sooner than you've planned then you're way more likely to put some more thought into what you do on a daily basis!
Think of it this way: if you were on a holiday to some stunning destination but you knew it could come to an end at any moment, wouldn't you make the most of every moment? Conversely, perhaps if you were in the same beautiful location but with the attitude that you were going to be there forever you would probably be more lax about what you spent your time doing. Now the possible outcomes of the former are that your holiday comes to an end sooner than expected but you know you made the most of it while you were there, or it lasts longer and you still made the most of it! The possible outcomes of the latter are that it comes to an end just as soon and you feel massive regret that you wasted your time there, or it lasts longer and you do see some of the sights but you still feel some regret because you know you could have done and seen more.
We've got the beautiful destination: life! We just need to have that awareness that we could be shipped off without much, if any, notice. We need to look at the guidebook for this awesome place and pick all the epic things we want to do and see, then make an itinerary and get out there and do it!
This reflection has helped me gain some clarity around what's important to me: spending quality time with the people I love; having a positive impact on as many people as possible; seeing as much of the world and having as many experiences as possible; and learning as much as possible, growing, developing and achieving my potential. Anything which doesn't fit into these four primary categories isn't really worth my time, especially with the knowledge of how finite that time is.
Seeing as whatever I try and say has always been said more elegantly by someone else, I'll leave you with a quote from the late Steve Jobs...
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."