They say when it rains, it pours. But sometimes, life can hand out one massive flood. As young adults, we often spend our years steadily searching for what our purpose is on earth. However, after losing two family members and more falling ill within two years, the quest to discover my calling was more urgent than ever before. As I began to tingle with anxiety thinking about the things I hadn’t done and the time I might have left to do them, the phrase “live your best life" repeatedly came to mind. Chuckling through my tears, I wanted to dismiss the thought because I was expecting more symbolic, but in all actuality, life really is that simple. Through love and loss, here are three lessons that are helping me live my very best life.
1. Our Choices Determine Our Results
Though we can’t control some circumstances that happen in our lives, we can always control our reaction to them. Whether it be surviving a broken home, an illness, or a heartbreak, we have the choice to wade in the rain and wallow in regret or open an umbrella and dance until our hearts are full. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to talk ourselves out of living up to our full potential because we don't believe we can get past what we’ve been through. We harbor animosity in our hearts and wait for apologies to give us permission to move forward, but the danger in doing this is that we risk passing up our breakthrough for the sake of being right. Although it's a tough pill to swallow, some situations never get closure but we have to decide to end that chapter for ourselves and thrive because we love ourselves too much not to. We are not products of transgression, we are testaments of courage.
2. It's Not A Race, Go At Your Own Pace
More often than not, we embrace unnecessary pressure by thinking we’re not really living until we check off the most thrilling desires on our bucket lists. While it is important to pursue your wildest dreams, don’t let future hopes rob you of your current blessings. Living your best life is based on whatever definition you give it. If my goal is to travel the world while yours is to practice self-control, both are worthy of praise because they are escorting us to greater lengths in our individual journeys. Writer and Artist Morgan Harper-Nichols once said “just because they’re succeeding before you, doesn’t mean they’re succeeding in replacement of you. There will still be a place for you. There will always be a place for you.” There’s no need to covet someone else’s kingdom when one’s been tailor-made for you. Since life is a marathon, pace yourself. Your medal will be waiting for you.
3. Remember Your Legacy
Naturally, once we leave this earth, we hope people will hold us in high regard. But, are we being intentional about the way we interact with others before we go? When you have the time, I encourage you to seriously consider the kind of impact you want to make and spend the rest of your life implementing it. The next time you feel out of character or like you have no purpose, that promise will be there to hold you accountable and let you know that your works are never in vain.
Indeed, dealing with grief is no easy feat, but the more I cherish past memories, the more I realize that life isn’t necessarily about what we do, but who we become. I pray that we will put faith over fear, mercy over judgement and kindness above everything for the rest of our days.