By Andrew E. Kaufman
I’ve been away from my regular post for what feels like forever. It wasn’t a deliberate choice—more, it happened out of circumstance. In other words, life left me no other option.
It went a little caddywhompus on me.
Well, if I’m going to be completely honest, life was pretty damned crazy before that—I just didn’t know it. Okay, if I’m going to be completely honest, I knew it. I just wasn’t paying attention.
Then life said, “Oh yeah? Well, watch this.”
I ran into significant health issues, then my father did, then my brother did, and as a result, life forced me to shut everything down and focus on (gasp) the things that really mattered. If that weren’t enough, life also took it a step further: it sentenced me to over a month in bed so I could contemplate my negligent behavior.
And, boy, did I.
So....as part of my community service requirement (as dictated by—you guessed it—life), I’m reporting back to share what I’ve learned.
If I don’t pay attention to life, life will make me listen.
Oprah says that life whispers to you all the time, and if you don’t listen, the whisper gets louder, and if you don’t listen to that, it knocks you up ‘side the head. (She says it a little better than I, so take it away, Oprah):
I’m not just listening to the whispers now, I’m hunting the little bastards down.
No job is more important than the one I've been put here to do.
Guess what that is? It's to live my freakin' life to the fullest and make no apologies (or have any regrets) for doing it.This has been a long, arduous, and painful process for me, but I'm finally learning to slow down, take a look around, and breathe.
My family, friends (and of course, the critters) come first. The job comes second.
As the old saying goes, Nobody on his deathbed ever looked up into the eyes of his family and friends and said, “I wish I'd spent more time at the office."
Here's a little secret I've learned: my work will actually still be there when I come back to it. It doesn't evaporate into thin air, and often, I actually even find myself doing it better afterward.
If I take care of my body, my mind will pay me back.
It’s no secret: I hate exercising. No, I despise it. But what I hate even more is how I feel when I don’t. I get cranky, anxious, and my mind gets all foggy. As a result, my writing suffers, and then I’m downright miserable. Here’s the thing: Your brain needs oxygen. Exercise does that. So, guess what I’m doing every day? Feeding my brain.
If I sleepwalk through life, I’ll wake up one day with a bunch of dreams that never happened.
End of story.