There is something about a 5-year mark. It is far and close simultaneously. It shows that you can survive and how far you’ve come, that moments are not a lifetime and defining moments can change us for better or worse – choose better, how time drags and flies and the resilience of the human spirit. For cancer survivors, 5 years is the benchmark where recurrence chances drop significantly, no guarantees but better odds. For someone who has passed, the missing shifts, deepens, continues and the carrying on must as well.
Today marks 5 years since Dad passed away. A date etched in memory and heart. There are moments that flip your world and nothing is ever the same again or ever will be.
We rush through days frantically checking things off long lists, busting ass for a career, doing what we “should” and are expected to do, people-pleasing, wrapped up in our opinions, positions, politics and criticizing the other guy. And then a grinding halt. The minutia falls away and what’s really important – relationships – takes center stage. If fortunate and intentional, we keep what’s important front and center, making lessons stick beyond the loss and change how we live permanently.
Through the years, Dad taught me many lessons that keep showing up to this day in my thoughts and actions. What questions to ask when buying a car, clearing a drain, hanging a picture, although I still don’t look for the stud nor do I bag the grass clippings and bring them to the compost. Critical thinking, girls can do anything so get to work, find solutions rather than focusing on problems, be kind, laugh, work hard and so much more. While he’s gone, he remains in so many ways in each day.
Time allows insights and lessons to be revealed and applied if we choose to do so:
- Make the most of each day, we don’t have forever, stop putting off to someday;
- Do it imperfectly, but by all means, do it;
- Time carries on whether we do or not;
- Let go and forgive, it’s a gift to yourself;
- Focus on what’s really important;
- Don’t become your work, diversify, broaden and expand;
- Create and contribute;
- Optimism, optimism, optimism;
- Hope, hope, hope;
- Be a teacher and a student;
- Stay active, break a sweat;
- Ignore negative voices – internal and external;
- Spend time savoring each day;
- Try new things and go on adventures no matter your age;
- Vitality and youth are a mindset not a number;
- Listen before you speak;
- Research the facts and be ready to back them up, don’t believe everything you hear;
- Anchor in principles but be willing to learn and grow beyond your opinions and assumptions;
- Be kind and generous;
- Enthusiasm and encouragement are fuel;
- Assume the best and be proven wrong once in a while rather than assuming the worst and be miserable all of the time;
- Have fun and laugh!
- Love, faith, trust always and without condition.
Loss is a good teacher, but we can change without it. Be present, grateful and raptly aware of what you do with your finite time. Learn and apply the lessons that serve your expanding, joy and becoming. Keep going and growing. Waste no more time. Cast light!