“You just died and you have to look at what you would do differently. Can’t we move forward as if that has happened?” I don’t recall where I heard this but it’s been spinning in my mind for a while now. Several things happened recently that reminded me of mortality and my real goals, and It hit differently than it normally does as I’m recognizing my own aging. My 9-5 is in healthcare and we see a lot of really difficult things from young sick people, to older people fighting alone, and everything in between. Recently some of the decisions made that impact my teams haven’t settled well with me. The world is a confusing enough place and I see how these decisions are going to impact patients and my employees. I see how we are removing the humanity out of what we do in order to satisfy a bottom line. I don’t want to be part of that.
As it happens, the universe starts shoving us in the right direction even if that means leaving behind the perceived security of what we know. In the course of two days, I was blessed to be put in positions to connect with people. Each of them needed to be heard, they needed a bit of guidance, and they needed to be validated as people, that what they felt was ok. I put aside my role at work and I literally listened to those who needed it. I heard their stories, I offered advice when I could (and when asked) and left the situation moderately better than where I found it. And selfishly, I felt better. After my third encounter, it really hit me that those were the interactions I wanted to have. THAT’S was what I want my day to look like. THAT’S how I want to feel.
So now it’s time to move forward with that information and live my life with this lesson and embrace who I really am. For so long I’ve been trying to fit myself into a box and to accept that I need to do the things I was told on a daily basis. I knew I wanted to get out of the box but I never fully accepted that I simply need to step out of it. The box doesn’t work—and, again, I knew that, I just didn’t see a way out. Now the light between the seams is getting brighter. The way comes when we are ready. So knowing that I didn’t fit in the box was the first step. Accepting that I didn’t fit in the box and stopping trying to fit in (and being ok with not fitting in) was the second step. Now finding the way out is the third. The more I think about it, I honestly feel like it’s indicative of what I’ve said all along: there really isn’t a box. It’s a matter of being comfortable being who you are.
Perhaps we don’t have to look at death as a scary thing. We can look at is as the greatest transformation. We can look at the growth it offers. We can make decisions differently knowing it is time to move forward. We can move forward with the new information and start living the life we want now. We don’t need permission. That is the beauty of nature and life: each day we are blessed to wake up is an opportunity to do something differently. It’s a new beginning. As the day before us passes away, so too does that version of who we are. We don’t need to hold onto that. We don’t need to accept what we’ve always done as what we need to continue with. When we find what is right, it is time to embrace that and follow it. Of course the choice is always ours. But leaving those previous choices behind for the chance at something new opens doors we didn’t know existed. Step through.