A few months ago, I was asked for a special Christmas present from my Granny, Carolyn Dundas. She asked me to write down my thoughts on life to share with her. I thought it was a great idea. My Granny passed away a few weeks ago after living a long life and I thought a great way to honor her and the type of person she was (always sharing knowledge and love) would be to share these same thoughts with you. So, at 26 years old (almost 27), these are my thoughts on life…
When I think about life, I use the same process as I have done so far throughout my own. I have always been very observant of my surroundings and I think that has helped me to get a good grasp on life. I have seen that life is short. Life is long. It is happy and sad. It can breeze by in the best times or go on forever in the worst times. What I have noticed, though, is that life is your own.
You have your family, friends and those that you surround yourself with. You may get certain traits from your parents’ genes and be raised a certain way, but your life is yours to live how you choose. The choice is always there and the importance of those choices shapes us and our life. Some people may say that when bad things happen, you didn’t have a choice. In my experiences, ohhh my experiences, I could definitely dwell on them and ask why they happened and be sad about them. I may not have had a choice to get my disease or go through those hard times, but there was still choice present. I had the choice on how it impacted my life and those around me. I had the choice to smile and say I was “fine” rather than sulk. I had the choice to use it as a way to shape my personality and the luxury of seeing these things at such a young age.
So my choices thus far have led me to the point I am at in life. Each one has led to something great and been a building block to what I hope to be a great life. Choosing USF for college over others, so that I could be closer to family and watch my nieces grow up, led me to joining the fraternity that has had a huge impact on me. Taking a sales job at a small company led me to finding the career path that best suits me. What I can say at this point is that I am happy. I believe strongly that you should have no regrets in life and that everything is just a learning experience that helps you grow. I think it is important to continue to learn and work your mind in any way possible, so that you never get “comfortable” with the way things are. I say “comfortable” because it is easy to sit back and accept where you are at, but at my age doing that would only hurt me in the long run.
I have seen through my interactions with others, that it is important to give back in any way you can. It can be passing on knowledge to those younger, volunteering to help in the community or giving money to support others or medical research. I try to encourage others to be successful in the life that they choose. Through my involvement with the V Foundation for cancer research, I watched a man who was months away his death pass along his message to others. That was a message of passion, love, laughter, thought and emotion every day. I know that his speech is something I will always think of and always watch to ensure I remember to live life by those principles.
My belief system is definitely my own. I am not influenced by others. I went through the classes and was confirmed Catholic when I was younger, but I do not hold the same beliefs as the church does. I actually don’t believe in organized religion and the need to pray/worship in one location and offer payment for that. I do believe in a higher power that we do not yet understand, but I do not believe in all the stories in the Bible. I do believe in the importance and impact they have on people’s lives though. It is a great way to teach a belief system and the difference between right and wrong. I believe in the underlying concepts of faith, hope and love that are all throughout it though. Some of the passages have stuck with me and helped me decide how I act, especially 1 Corinthians 13. I think each of these things is what keeps us sane and moving forward in life.
Death is the one thing I do not understand. I have hope and faith that something lies beyond and that it doesn’t just end, but I don’t dwell on the fact that it might. I focus more on the life that I am living and spending time with family and friends, so that no matter if it does, I can die happy. I think that is the meaning of life. My life. Because my life is my own to plan out and get through, to ensure I can look back and be happy with how it went.