Life Is a Matter of Minutes and Seconds
Author: Sheri Denkensohn-Trott
There have been many things happening in my own personal life, as well as in the news, about freak accidents, broken limbs, shootings, sickness, terrible disease, and, in the worst cases, death. A lot of the time we are so overwhelmed with the 24-7 news cycle reporting mostly bad news, and a very slim amount of good news slipped in between the weather and the sports updates, that it is hard to focus and be in the moment. And when it impacts your own life or even someone that is close to you, it is a gut punch in a different way for everyone. We cope with things at our own pace, all at the same time doing our work, helping family members or others, and being a parent, partner, sister, brother, or dear friend. One of the things I often joke about with students that I mentor is that, “Sometimes adulthood stinks.”
Becoming an adult is far from awful. You gain wisdom and experience and you begin to reflect, examine yourself, and absorb what happens around you. Also, many individuals begin to think about the future and where you want to be in many respects of your life, compare it to what you are presently doing, and how you can reach your ultimate goal(s). This is the human condition. And many people, and I’m not saying this is a bad thing don’t like change. And another cliché that is very true is that if anything is constant, it is change. Like it or not, change is inevitable.
Another reality of life is that sometimes we don’t get do overs. Something occurs and it changes us forever. For example, at age 16, I was injured in a diving accident and became a quadriplegic. I can’t go back and change what happened. I don’t get a do over. Other times, something happens and we think it is the end of the world but we can pick ourselves up and try again whether it is a task, reaching a goal in a different way, or just going to bed and starting again the next day.
I am willing to postulate that many individuals reading this blog were devastated to hear the news about Kobe Bryant and his terrible death, along with his daughter and others, in a helicopter crash. Not to diminish this in any way, but death, whether it be by plane, car, helicopter, or other means of transportation happens every day. To people that are not as well-known as Kobe. Similarly, many of us may be coping with sudden death of a parent, sibling, relative or friend; a serious illness; a parent that lost their job; a broken bone that keeps you immobilized; and a host of other things that can fill pages. But it is not worth doing that. Why?
I don’t have an answer to the why. I have asked the question “why?” so many times that I have lost count. Why did I sustain a spinal cord injury? Why did one of my best friends die suddenly at age 43 when she was perfectly healthy? Why did I get breast cancer? Why did my husband and his father get cancer? And the list goes on in my own life and I know in the lives of many that are close to me.
There is no solution to the “why.” Yes, in some cases you can get to the root of the problem or the illness or the cause of the crash etc., but the answer to the question of why it happened on a certain day at a certain time or to a certain person is something that we all have to deal with separately. For some it is through faith, others through meditation and/or spirituality, and others by going out and exercising or other fun and distracting activities (my husband would argue that playing X-Box is the perfect remedy!). But one thing I know, is that you must find a way to deal with the why. Otherwise you will spend your life questioning. No matter what happens, life will continue to go on. It may be harder, it may be darker for a little while, or even dark for a long time.
I’m not a doctor, so I can’t issue a prescription. But if I could, I would say that after you get through the grief, or whatever difficulty you have on your plate, move forward. Have a purpose that meets your passion. Be present when you are with those you love. Pick up the phone instead of talking about the person you want to call and then never making the time to do it. Buy a card. Go out and help someone in need. Do something! Yes, even a short text message saying “I care” is acceptable in some cases. But if you sit and dwell on the why and the sadness you will become immovable. And it doesn’t matter if you need to ask for help. You are not weak. Whether it be a support group, a doctor, a nurse, and sometimes even a stranger, there are good people in this world. And they may not be the richest or look like they have everything they want in life, but I can guarantee you that there is a lot behind the curtain.
Every single person in this world deals with minutes and seconds. That is a reality. The difference becomes what you do with that reality and how you shape your life. Because you never know what it will be like tomorrow.