In the wee hours of the night yesterday, I had a little medical scare. Granted, the scare was mostly between me and WebMD. I had myself convinced that I contracted a serious and rare disease, and for hours I went through all the machinations of what this would mean for my family, my future, my work, my path on this planet. Let’s just say, it wasn’t the most uplifting internal conversation.
What it revealed, however, was fascinating. After thinking about what this anticipated self-diagnosis would mean, I decided I’d change several habits in my life. I’d be less anxious. I’d rest more. Maybe I’d work less. I’d stay in prayer more. I’d be more centered than not. All at once, gratitude for this amazing vessel I get to live in washed over me. Then, a sadness that it would be over soon and that I wouldn’t be able to live my life through this body, with these amazing people. This morphed into a softness, a warmth, a forgiveness. As my imagination had me envisioning my life slipping away, I felt a childlike deep love for my body, my mind, my journey and all those I love. Joni Mitchell’s words echoed through me: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”…
Fast forward. I emailed my incredible doctor and she reassured me that what I noticed was completely fine. Yet, I was, in fact, changed. In those dark moments of the neurotic night, where the primitive brain held me captive, I saw a different way. Why do we need a diagnosis (real or imagined) to remind us that we are on borrowed time? Unlike comedian Steven Wright, I didn’t get an expiration date on my birth certificate. The only thing that is guaranteed is the moment we live right now, reading this note.
Maybe it’s part of the human condition to hold ourselves back, but I also know that it’s part of the human condition to want to explore our truest potential, to open inner doors that lead to the amazing treasures that lie within, and to excavate those gems and make meaningful contributions.
What would you do if you knew you were, in fact, on borrowed time (as we all are–spoiler alert!)? What would you let go of? What would you do more of? Who would you make amends with? What parts of you would you no longer apologize for? Who would you steer clear of? What shadow parts of yourself might you acknowledge and integrate? What would you really go for, no holds barred?