Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Best Advice I Ever Heard

I was just reading Patrick's Weekender edition when I read this question:
"If you could travel to your own future and see what has changed, what would you hope to see yourself doing ten years from now?" That really got me thinking.....
Not about my future but about my past....which became the present and later the future.
One day I was watching an early morning talk show. Probably Jane Pauley interviewing a woman who was over 100 years old. They asked her if she could go back what would she have changed about her life. Her answer was what I consider the best advice I have ever heard. She said that if she could change ONE thing it would be that she would not have worried so much. She went on to say that the things she did worry about never came to pass. All the tragedies in her life were suprises with no time to worry about them. She said that worrying was such a waste of time and she had done so much of it that she wished she had put that time to better use.
When I was diagnosed with cancer at age 23 I worried a lot. I had a son who had just turned three. I worried about something happening to me and who would raise him. I worried about the cancer returning. I worried a lot. When I heard this woman's advice I was in my late thirties. I cannot say that I stopped worrying altogether, but I can honestly say that I began to focus on other things and spent much less time worrying. In February will be the two year anniversary of my heart surgery (where I received a mechanical heart valve). When I first came home I was scared. I was a bit nervous about the surgery before it happened but I just went with the best heart surgeon I could find and left the worrying to him and his staff. Besides my poor husband worried enough for both of us. Coming home and realising that I was going to HEAR the heart valve forever made me anxious. I had a lot of pre op pain and I wondered from time to time if the heart might be in trouble. I did have one episode where I took some prescribed medicine and ended up in the ER with a serious problem. It all worked out though. Since then I have amazed myself how little worryign I actually do. Instead I have managed to go to computer school and get back into the work force. I have made a decision that I must be living in the now and I am following that decision. The past cannot be changed. The future is uncertain but I have today. I have to smell the flowers, enjoy the beauty of the sunrise and savor the time spent with people who really matter. In some ways I feel that knowing that is a gift.
If I have any advice to give (and trust me, I rarely do) it is this: stop worrying. If you can't stop, minimize it. Today is the day you worried about yesterday. Enjoy it.


IndigoSunMoon said...

Good advice...but so hard to follow.
Love ya Nelle!

Judith HeartSong said...

oh what a good and wise post.... this is just one of the reasons I treasure your friendship.