Recently I received a letter from Bob, an old friend of mine. The opening lines read “I was suffering from a serious case of lung cancer, which the doctors declared as incurable. They sent me back home to live out my final four weeks. Last week they admitted me back to the hospital because they say there’s still hope.”
Bob is on the road to recovery now, and as merry as ever. His story reminded me of the beauty of life and above all, the power of hope. Bob took all the chances he could get and battled the odds. What guided him was hope – hope in the face of uncertainty, hope in the face of adversity. The odds were not really in his favor, but he dared to hope, he dared to push on believing that he would make it: the audacity of hope.
Bob’s tryst with the permanent demise made me rethink my life’s philosophy. I realized that the most important day in my life was always ‘today’. Yesterday I have no control over, tomorrow I cannot predict; but today I can be who I was meant to be if I utilize my opportunities properly. It is very important to make the best out of what we have, when we have it. Life is short, but we can make it beautiful.
Thus we all must strive to live each day to its fullest. We must strive to make our lives worthy and eventful. There are many things we can do to achieve this – in fact, this is a very subjective topic: each of us will have different approaches to this issue. Nevertheless, I have listed what I believe are my core themes to living a life worth living:
1) Be open to new experiences.
Always try something new. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take risks in life and reach outside your comfort zone by trying things you’re uncomfortable with or meeting new people or having eccentric experiences. Your memories will always only be about the unique, different happenings in your life. Take risks, let go. Keep in mind that ‘What if’ is the most painful phrase in the English language. Don’t think too much about ‘what if’ and go for it.
2) Know yourself, love yourself.
Take charge of your life; be honest with yourself. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and set your goals accordingly. Try to overcome your drawbacks, and learn to accept constructive criticism. You are your own best friend, so you’re not getting anywhere in life unless you’re comfortable in your own skin. If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect others to love you? Make sure you forgive yourself for your mistakes and love yourself.
3) Being sensitive isn’t a bad thing.
Being open about your emotions is not a sign of weakness. You’re vulnerable? Accept it, it’s who you are. When things go wrong, you might feel like you need a hug or some company. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Believe me, most of us are like that. Only some people are brave enough to embrace their emotional and sensitive side.
4) Forgive those who hurt you.
You must have read that to err is human, while to forgive is divine. Forgive those who wrong you. It will not just comfort them, but will also give you absolution so you can finally move on. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was, or how hurt you were. If you have courage enough to forgive, you’ll grow wiser and stronger.
5) Trust your instinct.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a believer or an atheist, but it helps if you trust your gut feeling. The phrase ‘follow your heart’ can be used here. Make choices and act on them. If you fail, act again, try again. Even if you have to go through a thousand grueling trials, it’ll benefit you because you’ll look back at your handiwork, your dedication and learn that the road is as important as the destination.
6) No regrets – whatever happened, you learnt something from it.
We are the product of our adventures and misadventures. We learn more from our failures than from our successes. Try and do what makes you happy, do what makes you terrified, do what makes you feel alive, do what makes you feel disgusted – but above all, at least try something. We are the sum of our experiences – all of them, the good and the bad.
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