Two years ago, my eager anticipation of Thanksgiving was also a cautious countdown to a meaningful surgery I would have the Monday afterwards. I was scared. Of the surgery and what it might uncover. Of getting COVID in the interim and having to push things out. Of the unknown. Of all the things so far outside of my control. Favorite traditions and family forgone as I braced for what was to come.
It was a tender time.
It was also a generative time. There is something about a stark reminder of our mortality and the temporal nature of this earthly existence that really makes you think and puts things into perspective.
It emboldened me. Made me brave like never before. The fear of not living it all becoming so much greater than the fear of taking any one leap. Even after I’d healed and received my clean bill of health.
So, I devoted myself to living it all while I am here. A fully expressed life. What do they say in sports? “Leave it all on the field”? I wanted to do that.
And, now, I do.
It’s not that I didn’t at all before. I’ve taken leaps and created a life beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve savored the most extraordinary blessings. But there were also dreams and longings I didn’t allow myself. That I kept hidden behind lock and key. Or let get buried in the barrage of shoulds. And, as I opened the door to let them in, I realized how much magic still lay dormant.
Writing. Sharing my voice. Paying it forward. Living free. Prioritizing and investing in my family and the things that light me up, even when it doesn’t fit the mold. Doing things that scare me. Thrill me. Test me. Pushing farther and farther outside of my comfort zone. Saying yes. Saying no…
It’s pretty wild to think about how different my life is now. A mere two years later. And…as I say mere…I am humbled by the privilege in that statement. Because, two years is actually mind-blowing abundance. Which I guess is what is so wild about it. In some ways, it seems like a blip – time moves so fast it can feel like years pass in the blink of an eye – but there is so much possibility in even a day. An hour. A moment. A choice.
Choice is most powerful when coupled with intention. And intention is most powerful when paired with awareness. I often talk about the intentional pursuit of big dreams, and this is what I mean. It is a gateway to the wild and the wonderful that is available to us. While we are still here.
As I sit here today, two years later – walking with my family through amber honey archways in the forest, hearing the soulful crooning of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in the square, cuddling up by the fire as the temperatures drop – I’m aglow with gratitude. I will not take one single breath for granted. Giving thanks for all of it. Today and always.