Jodi Fisher taught me how to die. She pursued her last dreams with that mile-wide smile, nearly causing us to overlook the knit cap and telltale gaunt cheeks and arms. She laughed and cavorted as she stood on death’s doormat, knowing full well that she probably wouldn’t see the arrival of spring.
I’m humbled and grateful that she allowed me to share in her journey. Her very public actions let me peek into her window during those poignant few weeks while she continued to reach for the brass ring of life in spite of the hideously ticking clock.
Each of us shares Jodi’s fate.
We may not have received a dire diagnosis. We may have been allotted enough time to raise our children or see wrinkles around our eyes. Yet we’re equally engaged in a pas de deux with our own mortality.
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Even though the doctor may have recently declared us in the pink, we can be struck by a car while riding our bicycle, fall from a ladder while cleaning a gutter or suffer a heart attack during a tennis match.
Most of us would prefer to have a colonoscopy than to ponder our upcoming deaths. Still, it’s the acknowledgement of our potentially impending demise that spurs us to embrace each morning with wideopen arms, to behave as if this day was in fact our last.
We’re all facing a literal deadline. The game will be over whether we’re finished or not. Most don’t know when that buzzer will sound. We have to score all our points without seeing a shot clock.
It’s that very insecurity that gives us purpose. If time were infinite, it would have no meaning. We’d be wasteful, cavalier.
As it is, each day is more precious than rubies. As Jodi said in one of her interviews, “all we have is time.”
To that end, we should savor every second, inhaling life’s fumes like a fine Pinot Noir, then swirling it deliciously on our tongues.
Did I say Jodi Fisher taught me how to die? Let me correct that. I was mistaken. Jodi Fisher taught me how to live.
WANT TO EMBRACE EVERY MOMENT? START WITH THESE IDEAS
Identify goals. Decide which directions you’d like life to go. Set a few pie-in-the-sky dreams for yourself as well as some that are easier to reach. Keep in mind that the process is the fun. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t pan out as planned. The purpose is joy, not disappointment.
Remove negative factors. Scan through your days to uncover chronic sore spots. Perhaps your garage is a floor-to-ceiling trash heap, or you dislike visiting your parents in Des Moines. Some things you’ll be able to fix, others will require an acute change in your attitude. Either way, take control so that it works best for you.
Find joy in everyday activities. You may not be able to vacation on the Riviera. Still there’s plenty on a small scale for you to savor. Fill vases in your house with sprigs of jasmine. Take time to chat with your neighbor. Hike to the top of San Luis Mountain. Your world is full of wonderment that is waiting to be discovered.
Express your love for family and friends. Friends and family mean so very much. Yet we too often let positive emotions slip by unannounced. Make it a habit to say “I love you” to your dear ones. Send funny cards to your friends and siblings. They’ll appreciate hearing your kind words. You’ll feel wonderful saying them.
Don’t put things off. Have fun now! Tomorrow you may not be able to do it. Plan that driving trip with your girlfriend. Buy the sports car you’ve been eyeing at the dealership. While it’s never wise to go into debt, it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself to something special.
Forgive completely. Stop dwelling on past hurts. You can’t do anything to undo them, and they only make you sad and angry. Instead, erase them from your psychic hard drive and replace them with positive, joyful thoughts about today. You’ll immediately feel lighter. Your relationships with the purported transgressors will dramatically improve.
Celebrate every day. There is so much beauty and joy in your life. Find ways to rejoice in your bounty. Open a lovely bottle of wine. Watch the sun set near Morro Rock. Open your arms wide and exclaim, “Thank you, lovely world!” Jodi Fisher would agree.
Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her visit http://lindalewisgriffith.com