Twenty years ago, I was 15 years old and I worked at Chick-fil-a. My boss was a really incredible guy and I loved my job. He was encouraging when I failed my learner’s test to get my learner’s permit. From what I remember, it was a fun environment to work.
On this morning, twenty years ago, I received a phone call. He had been in an accident and passed away. It was the first in what would be a series of similar calls over the years. And even though I only knew him for a short time, this particular loss changed my life the most.
I’m not sure how I felt about life and death and regrets and taking chances before this moment. But since that phone call, I try to approach every single day as if it was my last. I am utterly aware of my mortality and take the fact that I could go at any moment very seriously. I can look back on my life and say I don’t really have any regrets. Sure, I’ve made mistakes. I’ve driven drunk. I’ve been arrested. I’ve messed things up. But I look at these things through the lens of learning.
Having such a view of life really helps to say no to things that don’t help me. Since I have a finite amount of time on this planet, why am I wasting it feeling guilty about something that I shouldn’t feel guilty about? Why am I worrying what other people think about me? Why am I NOT going to the movie? Why am I NOT taking the trip? While I am not reckless with my time, money, emotions, and life (i.e. quitting everything to go live on the beach or in the woods.) I do take chances. I do say the things I want to say. I don’t say the things I don’t want to say.
I still have a long way to go and I’m grateful that life is all about continual learning. But when I start to worry, or feel guilty, or discouraged, I remind myself that it could all be over in an instant, and I have the power to make my life what I want it to be.
If you’re walking through a great loss, know that it could be completely changing your life, for the amazingly, wonderfully, good.
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