Last night I was sitting out on my verandah with my laptop looking for pics for my latest Diet Schmiet post.
As usual, the view before me was spectacular and I reminded myself how lucky I am to be living in such a spot.
In my picture search I came across several Steve Jobs (of Apple fame) quotes I’d saved, one of which I used in a post – unveiling my plans for this new life I’ve started.
In that moment I was reminded of why I made this move; of why I changed my life.
In that earlier post I said that I realised life is short. I wasn’t desperately unhappy in my old life, but I was most certainly waiting for the fun to start.
I’d spent most of my life treading water until I was: thin enough; had the right job; met the right guy; started a family; discovered my passion. And so forth.
As a result I was 44 years old and in some kind of limbo. Existing, but not living.
The ‘being made redundant at work’ thing forced me to reconsider my life. And although in the end, I did have some other alternatives, I decided to make some sweeping changes. It wasn’t the Steve Jobs quote that did it, but it was the sentiment.
My father died in late October last year (did you notice I used the ‘d’ word? That’s taken a while). And recently several friends, colleagues and acquaintances have had serious health issues. I’ve heard of the passing of people I didn’t really know but who were of a similar age to me.
In my own little self-absorbed way this has been confronting: the realisation that the world in which I existed and my meager achievements ‘could’ (in fact) be the extent of my life was terrifying.
Yesterday my brother forwarded an email he’d received about the wife of a school friend. I knew the friend well (although I’m a few years younger we kinda grew up together) and I’d met his wife. She’d had cancer for some time and the prognosis had been both good and bad for several years.
She passed away in the early hours of yesterday. She was about my age and she and her husband had three kids – the youngest aged three.
Obviously I was saddened by this news: her lost life and the experiences she wouldn’t have; her husband and her kids – having to live without their friend, lover and mother.
But it wasn’t until I came across the Steve Jobs quote that it really hit home to me:
The pointlessness of living an inauthentic life.
The waste of not living life to the full.
The utter inanity of waiting for perfection or expecting ‘more’.
It’s hard not to feel guilty for surviving sometimes, when others don’t. But it occurred to me that those of us who do have a responsibility to really LIVE. And not just EXIST.