BY NORBERT RUG
The day I decided to live my life to the fullest, to seize the day, and stop coasting through life was the day I was diagnosed with cancer over ten years ago. When my doctor informed me that I had cancer I told him to “get it the fark out”, although these weren’t the exact words I used (This is a family newspaper after all.) I wasn’t about to let a few rogue cells define me or restrict my joie de vivre.
I feel that time is the greatest gift we will ever receive and waking up each day is a blessing to be cherished. You can always get more money, you can’t get more time. However receiving this diagnosis is not the only brush with death I have had. In the 60’s I was driving on Niagara Falls Boulevard when a person coming the other way crossed over the yellow line and strafed the entire driver’s side of my car, from bumper to bumper. My car came to rest in a gas station, about three feet from a gas pump where the attendant was filling up a car with gasoline. I had to exit my car via the passenger door as my door would not open.
I should have known then that I was destined to lead a charmed life. I totaled another car several years later by hitting a large tree, head on. In the last ten years, there have been so many times I have eluded Death that I can’t count them all. I don’t think Death wants to see me again for a while. I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Embolisms. They were so many that my doctor said he had never seen someone as bad as me that was not the subject of an autopsy. I’ve beat cancer two other times and have been thrown across a room by 440 volts.
I keep checking the bottom of my foot for an expiration date but haven’t found one yet. I really don’t think I want to know though as it might diminish the joy I feel every day just to be alive.
Knowing that a loved one’s time may be ending soon might actually be a gift that gives us a deeper appreciation for them and the time we have together but I don’t want to know when I am scheduled for my final exit. As research for this article, I recently took an online test (fatefulday.eu) to see when I would die and, God’s honest truth, they told me I died in 2015. Dang, nobody told me!
Worrying about tomorrow and lamenting the past is a total waste of time. Each day is a gift. Carpe Diem! People don’t call their friends and families or spend time with them anymore, but squander their valuable time looking at Facebook, checking thier messages or watching videos on YouTube. You can hear people mumble I haven’t got the time while they rush home from work to go online.
I was parked outside the high school recently, waiting to pick up my granddaughter and was watching the children file out of school. Although they were walking in groups, the vast majority had their noses buried in their phones. Here they were, walking with their friends, but no one was talking to each other.
Probably many of our thoughts and worries involve problems and situations in the past or the in the future and the closer we examine them, the more we will realize that only a very small percentage of our thoughts involve the present.
It takes an honest effort to live your life in the present. This may sound rather simple but not understanding this is the key reason that stops people from living their lives to the fullest. People certainly aren’t lazy or afraid, they are merely trapped in their daily routines. You cannot live your life to the fullest if you don’t dare to try new things or take risks.
Worrying about the past or the future can be a huge problem when it comes to living in the day you have right now. We have to accept that the past is not alterable. Spending a single second regretting your past takes away the chance to enjoy the present. Worrying about the past can be a vicious circle. It not only takes away the time you have to enjoy this moment but it gives you with another reason to be troubled in the future. Thoughts about why did I spend so much time worrying about yesterday in the past.
Accept the past for what it is. Let bygones be bygones and make the best of your situation today. Don’t lose sleep about the future either, you have little control of it. Deal with life one day at a time. Bottom line is, it depends on you and only you. If you spend your time whining about the past or fretting about the future, you will miss living in the present. Make the best of today. You will never get this day back. One day you want to be able to look back at your life with a smile on your face and recognize that you did the best you could.
Norb is an independent journalist from Lockport. Follow his blog.