A year ago today - April 24th 2022. That was the last day I had full vision in both eyes.
It was the last day that I could squint and see the details of the waves on the sea or the cruise ships on their way from Malaga or the birds circling overhead. The last day that I could drive without fear of crashing or walk without fear of tripping. It was the day before my retina detached.
The day was filled with friendship, fun and food. We were at a friend’s place for lunch, together with 3 other families. We had been in Spain for one year and although we’d faced many challenges getting to this point, on this day I realized how happy I was. I loved meeting genuine, down to earth people who enjoyed life and travel as much as I did. I realized that the 20-year search for my “tribe” had not led me to one single location, but to a feeling I can experience in multiple locations around the globe. It was a day where my heart, and my belly, were full. Full of goodness and delightful treats.
But, life is full of lasts. And that’s the truth for so many good things in life. You just don’t know when will be the last time you hug someone, or go for a run, or see the sunrise, or receive a call or text message from a loved one. “Lasts” happen when life is good and also when life is tough.
I remember wondering when would be the last day my child would wet the bed or when they’d eventually put themselves to bed without my nagging or lying on the hard floor next to their bed waiting for them to fall asleep, so that I could return to the work that I needed to do. Those nights were endless. And then they were over.
I remember the pain I felt when my dad passed or when I heard the news of my dear friend’s passing. It felt like the heartache would never end, but then one day it was just a little easier.
So today, as I reflect on the last 12 months, I try to remind myself that although the principle of “lasts” exists, I still have a choice. Every day, in fact every moment, I can choose how I think and how I react. Because whatever I think will always be true. If I think life is shit - that will be true. If I think that life is amazing - that will also be true.
The same applies to what I believe I can accomplish. If I think I can - then that is true, I CAN.
If I think I can’t, then I certainly will never be able to. Mindblown! Just think of the freedom this realization gives you.
And so today I chose to feel all the joy and all the pain, to really allow myself to feel the loss and the happiness. For every one of these feelings will pass and will be replaced, and then one day they will wash over me again like the waves in the sea, forever coming and going.
Here’s what I’ve learnt over the past year:
- Life is full of surprises. You never know what tomorrow will bring. You never know what obstacles you’ll have to overcome tomorrow. You’ll never know how or where you’ll find the strength to overcome them, but you will.
- The yin and yang of life is that ‘this too shall pass”. The good day and the bad day, they’ll all pass. This feeling that you’re feeling right now. That will pass. They’re all very valid and very real feelings, but none will last forever. So allow yourself to feel them, don't’ shut them out or hide them. Allow them into your body, experience them, and then let them go.
- Things happen prematurely. Life cannot be planned down to the minute. So learn to roll with the punches and embrace the changes.
- Live life to the fullest. Find what brings you happiness and do more of that. Whether it’s dancing or drawing, running a marathon or long walks along the beach. The more peace you have within you, the more you’ll bring joy to others.
- Just start. There will never be a right moment. It will pass before you know it and you’ll never be ready. So don’t wait.
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Spend time with people who challenge you to be more and do more every day.
For you never know when it will be your last.