As the new year approaches, many will be ushering in 2017 with celebration and champagne. Many others will use this time to reflect upon where their lives have been this past year and how they can grow into greatness in the new year.
In my professional career, I’ve been honored to care for hospice patients during the final days of their lives. They’ve given more to me than I ever gave to them. To say they gave me the gift of life, would simply be an understatement.
It has been a privilege to serve them and their families. I was given the gift of a life perspective that very few are fortunate to experience, until its too late.
My patients didn’t teach me how to die, they taught me how to live.
There are many life-changing lessons that one can learn from those who have come to the end of their life’s journey. I hope that as you are making your New Year’s resolutions that you choose lasting ones that make you happier, fulfilled and unapologetically at peace with who you are.
The most important overall lesson that my patients taught me, was that life was definitely for the living. I know, I know, that seems painfully and awkwardly obvious at first glance; However, so many people take that concept for granted.
They forget that life IS to be lived, fully and completely. They simply don’t take advantage of every opportunity to live the lives they truly love. Below are only a few lessons that my patients taught me about life, love and being free to be me.
1.You Do Not Have All The Time In The World To …(fill in the blank)
When we’re young no one ever thinks about dying. I know that was the last thing on my mind. As a young person, we just assume we are going to live forever. We assume that we have all the time in the world.
I lost my ex-husband to a heart attack at the young age of 48. Many people die younger than that. We can’t assume that we have all the time in the world to make amends or to say I’m sorry for hurting someone because that simply isn’t true.
So many patients struggle with letting go to die in peace because there have unresolved issues from their past. Part of the dying process is evidenced by the patient’s increased need for sleep.
Part of that is the disease process of the body shutting down but it also involves the mental process a conflict resolution. This is partly because the person can not physically go back in time to resolve an issue that occurred in their past.
This is the mind’s way of helping the person mentally go back in time where there are issues that were never resolved so that they can die in peace. The issues in our lives never really go away until we deal with them.
In those final days, there is a sense of comfort knowing that there are no regrets or wrong doings that must be resolved. To have no regrets means to know final peace…
2. It Doesn’t Matter What Other People Think Of You
The time you’ve been given here on this earth is borrowed and precious. Don’t waste it worrying about things that just don’t matter. I have seen SO many people worry about what other people think of them.
They literally lack their own identity or lose it because they are constantly seeking validation and approval from other people. The ironic thing is that the very people they are seeking approval and validation from, never really care about them in the first place.
Those people who love you, love you for who you are, it’s just that simple. When you are faced with death, what others think of you won’t matter at all…what matters most will be what you think of yourself…Make peace with who you are before it’s too late.
3. Your Time Is Precious. Don’t Waste It
Stop wasting time on people who don’t love you, respect you or appreciate you. In the end, you’ll regret all of the time you wasted worrying about that sorry boyfriend or husband that used you for years and you threw away your opportunity to be learn to happy without them.
Wasting years of your life on someone who doesn’t enhance your life experience will only leave you regretful and very angry. Your life is worth so more than that.
4. Nurture Your Real Relationships And Those People Who Really Love You
Your best investment will always be people. It will never be things. Not a fancy car, not your money in the bank, the million dollar home or the stuff that lasciviously decorates it’s interior.
It’s always the people that were placed in our lives. The thing that I have heard repeatedly as they face their final days , is I wish I had been a better mother, father, sister, friend..etc.
People are not toys to put down and pick up when it’s convenient or useful for us. Doing so will ultimately leave you empty and unfilled in the end.
5. Give Yourself Permission To Be Happy
The pursuit of happiness isn’t selfish. It is a right that we are all born with. SO many feel guilty about seeking happiness by staying in abusive relationships, toxic friendships, and dead end jobs.
The reality is simple. You only have one life to live, once it’s gone you won’t get a second chance to be happy.
Now is your opportunity to be happy.. Take it
6. Your Dreams Matter
So many give up on their dreams of becoming something or doing something they’ve always dreamed of doing. So many times we allow others to convince that we can’t do something for their own reasons.
THEIR reason very rarely have anything to do with us, but everything to do with the self-doubt they may feel. Your dreams and your passions are yours, they are designed to be used to glorify the gifts that GOD gave you.
Not using your gifts to follow your dreams and your passions would not only dishonor him but cheat you out fully engaging in life. A loss every patient that I have watched die regrets.
This article isn’t about death, it is about life. Learning to live your life to the fullest while you have the chance. As you make your New Year’s resolutions, I hope you will consider living the life you love, with no regrets. We only have one life to live, I hope you make your’s count!