Over Too Soon

I started out strong last week: eating healthy, exercising every day, reading, writing, blogging, beading, knitting. Heck, I was even washing my face and brushing (and flossing) before bedtime. Then I got slam-dunked by The Plague, aka The Common Cold, and all bets were off. I spent mornings sleeping and afternoons battling congestion, coughing and sneezing while trying to work, my hands raw from using antibacterial sanitizer so as not to pass the germs on to my piano students. Exhausted at the end of the day, I ate chicken soup and drink hot tea, dozing in front of the television, unable to sleep until the nighttime cold medications finally kicked in and knocked me out.

I spent this past weekend doing little besides eating and sleeping. Finally, this morning I woke up able to breathe through my nose and boy, howdy, I will never take that for granted again. And grateful to be feeling like myself again, I began to push myself back into my daily routines, anxious about the time I had “lost.” Feeling guilty that I missed running a 5K I had signed up for yesterday. Stressing about about the lack of progress on my novel rewrite. Beating myself up because I’m going to have to put this quarter’s estimated taxes on my credit card. Again.

Then a little while ago, I found out that a woman I know from my childhood, a fellow Mt. Carmel, Illinois high school student and band member, is dying of breast cancer. She was very private about the diagnosis so I had no idea anything was amiss until a good friend of hers posted something on Facebook on Friday. Desperate to reach out, I located her older sister on Facebook and sent her a note of inquiry. Tears streamed down my face as I read the truth. Her family is bringing her home from the hospital today hoping that her last days will be more pleasant spent at home. She is beautiful, brilliant, gifted, and loved by many. I told her sister how sorry I am, that I have lost two younger brothers myself, that life isn’t fair. I offered her and her family my love and prayers. It’s all I have to give.

And once again, I am reminded of how precious is the dawn of every new day–regardless of the weather, regardless of the number of dollars in my bank account, regardless of how much I weigh, regardless of how fast I can run a 5K, regardless of whether or not I am a traditionally published author. I am thinking long and hard about my own life and the legacy I wish to leave behind. I’m not sure what it will look like in the end. But I am sure that I want to live every moment I have on this earth authentically–on purpose, with purpose, in alignment with the desires of my heart. It isn’t always easy; life is filled with uncertainty and there are many aspects of it beyond our control. Our bodies betray us; our exes stop paying child support; love comes and love goes. But that’s just part of it.

I’m done with striving, with trying to be perfect and worrying about how my life compares with anyone else’s or what anybody thinks about me. Because it’s all over much too soon. It’s as simple as that.