For the first time in three years, our Rotary club was without a speaker for the week. We, the members, instead, took turns giving 90 second introductions about ourselves. Rotary is very concretely, "Service Above Self" and titles such as "Doctor" or "Honorable" are strictly not allowed. This was a special treat. When it was my turn, I stood up, gave what I felt, in hindsight, was a weak rhetoric of myself, and sat down. I was disappointed in myself. How badly I wanted to stand up, hit the backspace key, and start again with more passion and clear desire to be of service to my fellow man.
...A few days later....
I was watching the tv show “Peaky Blinders." While watching, several thoughts ran through my mind.
- I love the Art Deco style of the 1920's and I envy the people that got to enjoy it (though my hips would curse their cute column-like style of dress).
- I considered the idea of having the common cold and not having our modern medicines to quickly kill it.
- I realized my grandfather was born in 1926, the very year of the show. It's always fun watching a fiction come to life with a connection into the real world. The show often talks about "The War" (WWI) and follows real historic events. My grandfather fought in WWII and, within the show, you can watch the rise of the Axis Powers through the eyes of England. A bit scary already knowing the path that history took.
- Finally, I considered the gangster-like actions of the main characters and the motives that pushed them to those extremes. Some actions, on-screen or in real life, make you question your own limits when faced with very real negatives.
At this point, something triggered the emotions from a few days prior and I realized a very real truth, we get one shot at this and then we die.
My mother calls me morbid. In reality, this realization is exhilarating. In so many instances we are left to dream and imagine different scenarios of how it "could be," but that's not reality. We use creams, prayers, essential oils, and everything in between to create shortcuts for the decisions we've made. We say things like, "I wish I could have lived back then, life would have been so much easier." We believe that it truly is all or nothing. And we waste time numbing ourselves to our true joys in order to fulfill other needs.
It's hard to watch a child and not notice their inherent joy. They reach for the things that bring them the most happiness without fear of judgement. When asked what my son's favorite thing was, he very excitedly sat up with a bright expression and yelled, PIRATES!
Every day I wake up questioning how I should present myself that day. What do I do to make people like me, trust me, hire me? How do I change myself into a more appealing Sarah in order to bring more finances into the company and thus cover truly needed expenses such as putting food on the dinner table?
Life can be crippling. There's no argument there, but it truly is all about perspective. Someone on TikTok once said, "If it's illegal and the penalty is a fine then it's technically legal for a price." I do not condone illegal behavior but we all too often see things as black and white when in reality the shades of the rainbow are infinite once we remove the blinders we have learned as adults.
When you step into that last moment of your life, what are you going feel about your own One Chance. Will your stomach flip wishing for the impossible 'do over,' or will you be that young child smiling ear to ear because you took the unavoidable risks that lead to knowing true happiness? Life is painful no matter where it was spent: sitting on the sidelines or sliding into home base.
The thoughts and events that began this post helped me to realize that I don't want the One Chance of someone that lived in the 1920's or even my grandfather's. I'm living my One Chance now and every second I spend dreaming about a "re-do" or hesitating because of what "could happen," is me choosing to freely throw away a small portion of something that can never be rewound. A waste I simply cannot stomach not only as it harms myself but also because of the Butterfly Effect it has on those I hold most dear.
I chose to Jump. I allowed myself to be vulnerable in order to see myself through the eyes of someone else in order to correct my skewed self-views. Photo by Leon Johnson.