Lifetime Accomplishment: Just Live

I’ve always set goals for myself. Since I was little I had goals of being on the competitive dance team, of going to college, of getting that 4.0. In fact, I’ve learned how to set SMART goals several times thanks to being an education major. In addition, I am still learning how to write goals as a Special Education teacher. Goals are a never-ending part of human life. If you don’t set goals, what type of person are you? What type of life do you live? We set goals without even realizing it.

So recently, someone pretty important in my life asked me the following question:

“What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime? Think big picture!”

I was completely stumped for days. I had no idea how to respond or what to pick. Not to mention I am really bad when put on the spot. Thankfully, I was asked in a letter so I had some time to gather my thoughts. Except there were no thoughts…

I actually started to get kind of distraught with this because I am the type of person who is constantly making lists, setting goals, and crossing things off. I am a pretty organized person and when things don’t tend to go a certain way or follow a plan, sometimes all chaotic hell can break loose in my mind. I would like to think on the outside I hold it together pretty well, but I’m sure others can contest to that.

I had thought up a few goals in my mind that I wanted to accomplish but they were all short-term and I kept deeming them as not worthy for a “lifetime accomplishment.” Like, holy shit a lifetime accomplishment that should be big right? I mean, I know I am never going to go to the Olympics to get a gold medal but that is probably someone’s lifetime accomplishment and the ones floating around in my mind were nothing compared to that!

I spent another day deliberating some more accomplishments. I had time because lucky for me, I have surrounded myself with the most patient person in the world. After about a two days, I finally had something worthy.

Here it goes:

I think it’s fair to say anyone who has cancer or is affected by cancer in some way experiences some form of “a wake up call”. Here’s the thing, anyone who gets that call, is going to choose to do whatever they want to do with that call, and how they react to it. You can’t control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you react to them. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT!

For me, I have experienced a few wake up calls with the C word. One was of course when I was first diagnosed. That was actually a wake up call and slap in the face if you ask me. We won’t venture down that road today though. The second wakeup call was in November after my diagnosis. I think by that point, all the shock had worn off. At this point, I decided that I was going to just live. Every. Single. Day. I would take every opportunity that came my way and (not to be cliché) but seize the day. (Sorry, I really could not thin of any better way to say it.)

I knew that my time could be short, as terrible as that sounds and I did not want to be 50 years old wishing that I would have done more things. I didn’t want to wish that I had more time to “live”. P.S. Screw cancer, I don’t care what statistics say I will live to be at least 93 because thats number I just randomly picked and it sounds kind of cool.

I decided in a car driving down Dodge Street on a frigid winter night almost in tears with my mom that I wanted to be a “doer”. I wanted to see every part of the world that I possibly could, help anyone that I possibly could, and I wanted to stop being so busy and spend more time with my friends and family. And then, when it’s all said and done, I want to say that I did everything I wanted to do and that I just lived.

While it’s vague, my lifetime accomplishment is to just live. Some days I feel like I used to spend a lot of my life running around pleasing other people and living their life, not mine. I think a lot of us do that. My wish for everyone is that they just live and that they don’t need a wake up call like I did – but I am thankful for the wake up call. It truly made me a better person. How could I not be thankful? It’s sucky, but it does have its positives.

So for me, I will just live and be a “doer” and right now, it’s working out pretty great. And now you know the story behind “Just Live” 🙂


2 thoughts on “Lifetime Accomplishment: Just Live

  1. Sandy says:

    Those are worthy aspirations of a life well-lived. When you are back in Bellevue, I would love to introduce you to the most awesome 93 year old. She has not had the adversity of cancer but lived through the siege of Berlin during WWII. She has lived her life without regrets(married someone 20 years her senior), traveled to far away places (Easter Island to name one) and always been there for me (grandmother in every sense of the word, except related). She inspires me everyday to find joy in the smallest of things, or just in the moment–just live.


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