This Monday that passed at 4am a young friend of mine left this earth. She had a six month old baby boy. and was 33 years old. Just 33! But her body was riddled with a rare cancer that took root. One day we were laughing at a really bad joke and the next she was calling me from the ambulance having just been told her diagnosis. It was not the first time someone had called me crying from an ambulance. I will have to write about that aspect of my odd life at some other point. But back to my friend.
She lived a short life but she did much. She met the love of her life at a young age and they were devoted to each other. She lived and studied abroad. She spoke five languages. She had a lovely singing voice. She made everyone feel special. She was beautiful inside and out. Before she got sick we had spoke about her career path. I offered my opinion on her next steps and she seemed eager to figure that out. I was excited to see her flourish. She could do it, I knew it. Well, that is until cancer took a hold.
As I think of her life, I am reminded of Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech that is now a Ted Talk. The speech has been titled “How to Live your life.”
Overall, he sought to inspire others to live fully and without reservations. He urged the graduates and ostensibly all of us to doggedly pursue our dreams and to find the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself. I keep thinking of that message this week. Actually for the past year. Life is always a series of crossroads. Or at least it has been for me. What you do at the forks and what you do when you fall down is everything. Adversity can drive one very far if you strive to find that opportunity.
Of course, sometimes adversity just wins out. But at least you have to try. We all know this. We don’t need Steve Jobs or psychologistmimi to say so. But sometimes we get kicked in the head with the message and a new lightbulb turns on. But for how long? For how long can the motivation course through the veins? I know that I am going to revisit my vision board and see if this vision from two months ago holds even now.
The other part of his message is that you can’t let others run your life. You are the director of your life. You are the “auteur”. Others may try to define you and mold you to their liking and narrow life view, but you just can’t let that be. What feels right to you and what do you feel in your own skin has to also drive you forward. As my friend’s body was lowered into the ground and as I tossed dirt onto her grave, I just kept thinking of how everyone has a light to them and within them if they just let it shine. That in itself can have a grand impact.
Find your light and share it with others. This is your time.