To Do List: 2017

Have you ever watched a movie that impacts you deeply? It reaches your core…moves your soul deep down in a way that motivates you to evaluate your life…assess where you are… where you’re going…where you want to be. I recently did. The movie was happy and sad and I cried pretty much through the whole thing…I’m afflicted with “lots of feels”. Superficially I cried because the movie was about death and love and the time surrounding it all. On a deeper level it made me think about how love and death affect my life…and how time frames them.

I don’t obsess about death. I don’t even think about it very often. But as I get older, and my parents get older, and I see people I know and don’t know affected by the death of a loved one, I think about death more often. I think about its finality. I think about how painfully I would miss every single person in my circle if they were gone from my life. I cry. Sometimes I get caught up in thoughts like “what would I do if one of my parents died tomorrow” or “what would I do if I lost one of my kids”. I panic. The tears flow freely. How easy it would be to become paralyzed by those thoughts. Death is powerful. It is a motivator. It is immobilizing. It is destructive and liberating.

I haven’t been affected directly by death…the death of someone who is an integral part of my day to day life. I’m thankful and I’m terrified. Being terrified and consumed by something that hasn’t happened, however, is a waste. It’s a waste of emotion…a waste of brain and heart space. I made a deal with myself at the beginning of 2016 that I would not waste any energy on things I couldn’t control…other people’s actions and emotions, events, death. I adopted the Serenity Prayer of sorts…serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. I agreed, to the best of my ability, to let things work out and to accept the outcome …even if it wasn’t how I wanted it to work out. It is what it is. Que sera sera.

While I can’t change other people or things that happen to me or even my situation sometimes, I can change how I participate. I am in charge of my actions, reactions, and attitude. I control how I spend my time and who I surround myself with. I control how, how much, and who I love. I control how much of myself I give to other people and how much I reserve in order to protect myself from hurt. All of this leads to the creation of my 2017 to do list…a list of one.

1. Relationships. Nurture the ones I have. Create new ones. Love the people around me. Love…the verb…the action that I participate in.

If nothing else I have two things…I have love and I have time. How I choose to intertwine the two is up to me. The privilege of being human is the ability to intimately connect with other people. We only have one lifetime…a finite number of minutes to nurture and grow and strengthen those relationships. I don’t want to be on death’s doorstep and wish I had loved more. That’s it. 2017. Time. Love. Relationships.

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