There are mile markers in everyone’s lives–when something so significant happens that afterward you’re never the same.
Transformation can be the result of joyous occasions or from incredible challenge. I recently had one of those moments in my life. Here’s the story of my most recent life changing experiences.
What I thought was simply difficulty sleeping, was diagnosed a large tumor in my spinal cord. With little warning, I was rushed into emergency surgery in July to have it removed. The good news is that the surgery was successful and the tumor was benign. Although this milestone was not one I would label as joyous, it ended up bringing valuable lessons to my life.
I learned not to ignore things. I was having pain for a while and I found a way to justify it so that I didn’t have to go to the doctor. Going to the doctor is something I have never enjoyed and I thought the pain would eventually go away. As you can guess, it did not. I think people do this all the time even in ways that are not related to health. Sometimes the thought of all the things you have to do to rectify a problem seem insurmountable. Sometimes the pain of living with it seems better than the pain or uncomfortability of the solution. Ignoring what needs to be addressed only makes things worse in the long run.
It was very important to me throughout this process that I only focused on the next step ahead. I found that worrying about all the possible outcomes was not good for my overall well being. Focusing on only the next step made the weight of everything feel so much lighter. I think this can be applied to many areas in life. The only way to do anything is one step at a time.
I had a moment after I found out I had the tumor where I was sitting in my car alone before I drove home. At that moment I realized what was important to me. I think I of course knew that already but having my life flash before my eyes really allowed me to hone in on it. I don’t think you need a scary thing to happen to you to do this. You can do this at any time. Ask yourself what your values are. Ask yourself what matters to you. And ask yourself often. I know I will be revisiting these questions on a regular basis.
I had to face my fear to make it through this. Had I not, I would not be healing right now. I think when I take a really good look at everything, my fear was what made me not go to the doctor sooner. I was afraid of what he would say. But now that I am on the other side of it, I realized I was always capable of making it through.
So if I could give you one message that I learned through all of this it is this: You can do it. Whatever it was you just thought of when you read that last sentence, I know you have what it takes.