Yesterday I found out a high school classmate passed away from cancer.  He wasn’t the first of my classmates to pass away.  And he wasn’t someone I really knew well.  But it made me really think.

I graduated from high school twenty-five years ago.  (Yes, I know, I’m old).  I would assume most high school graduates are/were like I was.  Hopeful and excited about the future.  I am sure nobody was thinking…I’ll be dead in twenty-five years from cancer.

As I said I don’t know a lot about this person.  I don’t know if he married, had children, what his career was…..  but I wonder – did he have a chance to really live?

As adults we all have responsibilities.  Jobs, families, children, parents, spouses, commitments, PTA…the list is endless.  It often feels as if I’m a hamster on a wheel, going around and around and around.   We get so busy that I have to wonder, do we, do I, make time to be happy?

Lately I’ve been working on that.  I admit that at times it’s hard to do – live the life I want, be happy – without feeling selfish about it.  I’m not sure why that is?  Why do we feel selfish if we are doing things that make us happy?   Why do I feel so guilty if I can’t be everything to everyone all the time?  I shouldn’t feel guilty.  Because if I’m everything to everyone all the time, when am I good to me?

People that know me well might take an exception to this.  I have a good life.  I am able to buy the things I need and/or want.  I go out to dinners with girlfriends.  I get to travel.  I get massages and time to myself.  So why on earth would I feel as if I’m not taking time for me.  And that’s not my issue.  My issue is that in order to do those things I completely run myself ragged trying to do everything else.  Those dinners with girlfriends – I’m up at 5am prepping dinner so that hubby can cook it later.  That’s just one example of what I do.

I’ve made significant changes in my life.  My hubby and I have worked hard to make significant changes to our relationships both with each other and with our children.  And you know what – we’re really happy.

I wake up each day with a smile on my face.  And each day I worry less about who I might offend or upset because I can’t do what they want to make them happy.   Don’t get me wrong, I have bad days.  I have moments when my feelings are hurt because someone has let me down.  That’s just life.  But the difference is that I’ve given myself permission to let those things go.  I’ve also given myself permission to not go that extra mile for someone who a)doesn’t appreciate it or b)isn’t thoughtful of me in the same way.

My life is a gift.  Each breath is a gift.  Each day I wake up is a gift.  I want to spend my time with the people I love and love me back.  I want to spend less time worrying about what might happen and enjoy what is happening.

Are you enjoying your life?  Or are you just that hamster…….

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