You might not make it to tomorrow
If there’s something that can create a fundamental shift in how you live your life or make you re-evaluate what is important, it is going through a personal tragedy, or coming close to one.
After writing articles regularly, I’ve had a gap of about a month. That is down to some personal circumstances that until recently took my attention away from my coaching practice.
My first child was born on 14th July and whilst he is now back home, healthy and happy (and, thankfully, a sleeper at night!), he had a really rough time right after he was born. To cut a long story short, we were informed after birth that his situation was precarious, with doctors unable to provide any reassurances about either his short-term or long-term health. As an aside, I’d like to publicly state my immense gratitude to the team in the neo-natal intensive care unit at University College London Hospital. These people make miracles happen every day. To them, we might be another patient they have helped. To us, they are gods. Our baby is home and healthy, and that is down to their amazing work.
Anyhow, I remember the feeling during those initial days. Nothing can prepare you for the emotional trauma of having a child in hospital with a life-threatening condition. Seconds and minutes feel like hours and the only way to operate is an odd form of autopilot whereby the rest of your life ceases to exist. Even after doctors became cautiously optimistic about his chances, the immense anxiety about risks to his recovery remained. I can only describe it as an out of body experience.
Since bringing him home though and enjoying the beginning of what feels like a very different life, I've reflected on what I can learn from this experience. The upshot to all of this is that I've been able to remind myself that I’m living my life in a way that feels perfect to me at the moment.
Being self-employed can be scary, it can be lonely and it can induce a lot of anxiety - especially as I am a naturally anxious person (I've previously been diagnosed with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder). But an experience like this makes you re-evaluate everything. I questioned what values are important to me in life and work at the moment, and whether I'm being true to those values. Despite all my anxiety, for me at the moment, the answer is well and truly yes. That feels like a good place to be.
So as clichéd as this might sound, you don’t know what tomorrow might bring. It could just be another normal day. It probably will be. However, there's always a chance you might die or suffer some form of tragedy that will turn your life upside down. So why live your life now in a way that might one day leave you wondering "what if"?
Given this, ask yourself, what would a life of no regrets look like to you? After answering this, what step (big or small) can you take today to move towards that life?
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