I just spent some time in a hospice visiting a friend. She’s just like you or me, except she’s dying, and she knows it. So there are a few things I want to share with you while we’ve got a bit of time.
As comfy as my friend looks in her clever bed with its remote control, no one in a hospice actually wants to be there. Given the choice she’d much rather be out here, with us. Deciding what to get for tea, chatting about nothing in particular, finding a special thing in a second-hand store and realising it is perfect.
You and I don’t even notice the little moments as they pass by. Maybe even resent time wasted.
But it turns out these little moments are the things of life that keep us splendidly sane. Untethered from the mundane realities of each day, we somehow become lost. The people in the hospice seem all at sea without them, waiting to be rescued by a boat that will never come.
Maybe you don’t notice the small stuff because you have so many big things to worry about.
Perhaps you wake up and worry, the first moments of your day filled with fear over the bad things that might happen to you?
What’s going to happen if I stuff up? What does he want to see me for? Can I do this on my own? What’s going to happen if...?
I suspect that if you sit and write these big worries out on paper, some of them aren’t really that big at all. You could take the paper and put it in the bin, along with the worries it represents, and choose to think about them later or maybe not at all. Or hold them up against life in the hospice and suddenly realise how very small they are. Foolish even.
We are often told that everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end. We would do well to remember this.
But perhaps most of all, you should remind yourself that you are a brilliant thing. Chances are your legs can still get you places, your fingers can text words as fast as you can think them, your brain talk, make a cup of tea and remember something important all at the same time. Your body, with all its dents and scratches, including all the bits you’re embarrassed about, is a damn awesome machine, whatever its state of repair.
And while you’re marvelling at what your body can do, remember that you are strong as a person too.
Why listen to those who try to put you down? Did you ever look up to them in the first place? An unkind dig in place of a compliment, a dirty look instead of a smile – these things are a mess of someone else’s making. Let them own that stuff.
You can do things. You do matter. Your quiet kindness does count. People appreciate you, whether or not they acknowledge it, whether or not you stop to listen properly when they do.
You know, winning might not be about being first across the finish line, or taking home the most pay, or a fancy picture where you look nice. I can guarantee it is not about clicks or followers online.
Winning might be the cumulative effect of putting on a wash, reading something lovely, or dancing naked in your kitchen. These things anchor us to real life.
When the big stuff in life seems too much to handle, the little things keep us moving forward until we can build up the courage to achieve something bigger.
One day, as life nears its end and perhaps a hospice becomes your home, it is the so-called mundane moments of life that we will feel most keenly, that we will miss most of all.
Live your best day. Go you good things, go.