The Gift of Fear

Or How Something Can Be Nothing And Still Change Everything

I had a health scare recently, the sort of thing that starts with a routine check up and ends with a biopsy. It was two weeks from the time I got the call that I needed the test to getting the all clear, the longest two weeks of my life. I went from, “I’m sure it’s nothing,” to “Who will take care of the dog if I’m gone?” and back again. Over and over.

I did a lot of thinking during those two weeks.

I thought about what I’ve done in life and what I haven’t gotten around to. I still haven’t written the great American novel. Being a writer has always been a big part of my identity so I was a little surprised about how little that mattered.

I thought about the stuff I have and don’t have. You know what? I have enough.

I thought about places I’ve been and people I love. And my dog. It’s good to have a dog to pet at times like these.

I made a few decisions, most before I knew the results. I decided to:

  • Spend more face time with the people I care about and less time clicking Like on Facebook.
  • Make real plans to go to Hawaii in the next year and stop waiting for someday. Let’s face it–someday is never.
  • Start taking piano lessons again. No more putting off something I enjoy. It’s been years already!
  • Focus more on meaningful work and less on busy work. If that makes space for writing that novel, that’s fine. If it leads in another direction, that’s fine too.

I’m pretty sure that my life still looks the same from the outside. That’s okay. It’s a good life. Now, with more connection, meaning, and joy, it’s going to be a great life on the inside too.

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