Tag Archives: accomplishment

Do it now

“Will this matter at the end of my life?” was a question posed in a book on prioritizing where I spend my time and energy. I read that book at least thirty years ago, but now that I am getting nearer to the end of my life, that question has taken on greater significance.

What will matter at the end of my life?

One thing I know is that I do not want to have regrets because I did not do something I had wanted to do.

While working at a cancer support center for the past seven years, I have met so many people who said things like, “I really want to see the Grand Canyon before I die,” or “Going to Europe is on my bucket list” or “I want to sky dive” (or any other risky activity). You get the idea—those things we think about and daydream about doing or seeing—and sometimes don’t get around to.

When I write my story, “What I have learned from working with people facing cancer,” one of the top things will be the importance of doing what you want to do now (NOW) while you still can. No one knows when cancer will be diagnosed, so if you have an impulse to do something, do it now.

My friend Ted wanted to visit the Missions in Southern California and Jim wanted to see the Grand Canyon. So why didn’t they? The answer is that they waited too long and then cancer stopped them.

So, the take-away is do it now. See the places you want to see. Write the book you want to write. Gather your courage and jump from a plane or zip line in a jungle or raft down a river. Or learn to fly fish or develop a meditation practice. Whatever it is that catches your fancy and occupies your daydreams—act on the impulse.

Making our dreams a priority will make our dreams come true; postponing dreams can easily lead to regret.

God-wisdom-courage

Becoming courageous

“I want to be you,” a volunteer at my work recently said to me.

“Me?” I asked incredulously.

I admire your courage and kindness,” she said.

Over the years, I have told other women that I want to be them. These are women who embody the virtues I aspire to—patience, compassion, kindness, wisdom and self-acceptance. I want to embody those same virtues.

So when I heard these words being said to me, I was surprised.

I suppose most of us carry around images of ourselves that focus on our insecurities, where we see ourselves falling short and not living up to our own standards, let alone expectations others might have. I know I do.God-wisdom-courageI used to move a lot and hanging curtains was one of the first things I did to help me feel settled into my new place. I remember after one move, a woman at work asked how I was settling in and I told her I had my curtains up so I was in good shape. “Who hung them for you?” she asked, knowing that I was single. “I did them myself,” I replied with both a tinge of incredulity that she asked the question and also a sense of pride. She considered hanging curtains rods a challenge.

But, I have been in my current house for five years and only last week put up the last of my window treatments. I was nervous about drilling into the plaster wall. Drilling into wooden window frames is easy, but plaster?

I googled installing curtain rods in plaster walls and then I called my brother for further assurance. He concurred with the You Tube video.

So I charged my drill, mustered my courage, measured and began. I even used the level to make sure the rod was straight.

The finished product pleased me.God-wisdom-courageWhy had I been so resistant? So fearful?Even though others may see me as courageous, I know my inner fears. I know how I can be paralyzed by the smallest thing (like putting up curtain rods).

When this paralysis strikes, I wonder if it is a matter of accepting my limitations or being challenged to overcome a fear.In my early thirties, my therapist encouraged me to do things scared.

Act as if… my therapist advised me. We had been talking about my fears, and there were many. He suggested I act as if I had no fears, with the idea that acting as if would lead to a change in behavior, that my fears would disappear.

I was doubtful, but it actually worked, and each time I did something that frightened (or even terrified) me, I gain confidence.

From another therapist, I learned is to ask, What is the worst that can happen? In most circumstances, the worst is not so bad. (In the case of curtain rods, it would mean some repair work before reinstalling.)

Doing things scared and weighing possible outcomes have helped me become less fearful and more courageous.God-wisdom-courage