I’ve been dreaming about going back to Europe since we left last summer. I have gone back and forth – do we save money? Pay off something? Go on a trip? We finally decided – we will go on a trip this summer, back to Europe.
I’ve had the financial discussion with many friends and family members and everyone has differing opinions. Some suggest that your debt all needs to be paid off before you can travel. Others suggest exploring while you can because “you just never know”. I flip flop back and forth, but ultimately my own mortality hits me in the face and I decide that I need to travel.
There have been times in my life that cause me to focus on what is important. A few years ago, my younger brother was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia – a type of blood cancer that leaves you with virtually no immune system nor platelets to clot injuries – and our world was completely turned upside down. He was 19 at the time and spent the better half of 11 months in the hospital. He lost nearly a YEAR of his young adult life to tubes, pain and hospital beds, and the rest of our family’s lives changed as well. He has been in remission since (thank you, God!) but he now lives a life with no regrets, no time for whining, and a desire to see the world.
Throughout his journey, he met many other patients who did not share such a positive fate, and all serve as a reminder of how short life can be. This summer I had a dear friend pass away. She was probably the sweetest, most generous, and most selfless person that I have ever met. She actually made (makes) me want to be a better person because of how kind she was to everyone.
Now this brings me to my current state of mind:
The day my brother was diagnosed all of us woke up like any other day. The days leading up to it were totally normal, filled with dreams of travel and love and future plans. But that one day caused all of us to have to change our frame of mind – what IF there is no “future”? Of course it sounds morbid, and it is a little bit. I think Garth Brooks even sings about it – “if tomorrow never comes”? None of us want to think about it. We don’t want to think about our own death or that of a family member or close friend. But sometimes it takes a sad, terrible dose of reality for us to realize what is important.
Many times I forget “what’s important” and I get wrapped up in some silly gossip or how many likes I had on a picture or how my husband forgot lunch at home or just some other stupid mundane issue. It is so easy to get lost in the day-to-day activities and go about your day lacking passion. I am guilty of it quite regularly. I have an amazing career – I get to hang out with the coolest kids ALL DAY. That’s my job! But do you know how often I think of them as “cool” and how often I think of my job as “fun”? Rarely. Because I get caught up in the report cards and paperwork.
I also need to be grateful for the fact that my job allows me the opportunity to travel and see the world with friends and family. Isn’t it time that we all try that – just “be grateful” and figure out what is important to us?
When I sit down and quiet my mind, maybe with a cup of tea or in my savasana pose at the end of a yoga class, clarity reveals what is important – spending time with loved ones and ensuring that I am living life to the fullest. What exactly that means, I’m not sure. I do know it means doing the things that I want to while I can. Who knows if I will make it to retirement to enjoy my pension and travel the world then? Or what if my husband doesn’t – he constantly teases that he grew up near one of the most toxic sites in Canada and he is bound to be gone by 50 (thanks babe).
Or what if the zombies come and I am forced to be a badass and fight them off with a big sword?! (sorry – I’m a little obsessed with The Walking Dead).
Maybe it will take some saving. Maybe it will take some planning. But ultimately, we all have this one life. I try to fill mine with positive people and fun things. I try to make sure that my family and friends know that I love them. I want to see the world, meet new people, and stretch my comfort zone (even if it involves a little Ativan from time-to-time). So for now, despite there being some people who will disagree, we will plan another trip and save the “saving” for a few more months.
What is it that you want to do?