Thursday, December 17, 2015

On the Value of Living Authentically

The following quote flew through my Facebook feed this morning and was attributed to Keanu Reeves. I have zero idea if Keanu really said any of that (probably not), but I agree with it wholeheartedly either way. It perfectly describes where I'm at mentally and emotionally as far as my feelings about living life.
"My friend's mom has eaten healthy all her life. Never ever consumed alcohol or any "bad" food, exercised every day, very limber, very active, took all supplements suggested by her doctor, never went in the sun without sunscreen and when she did it was for as short a period as possible- so pretty much she protected her health with the utmost that anyone could. She is now 76 and has skin cancer, bone marrow cancer and extreme osteoporosis.
My friend's father eats bacon on top of bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never and I mean never exercised, was out in the sun burnt to a crisp every summer, he basically took the approach to live life to his fullest and not as others suggest. He is 81 and the doctors says his health is that of a young person.
People you cannot hide from your poison. It's out there and it will find you so in the words of my friend's still living mother: " if I would have known my life would end this way I would have lived it more to the fullest enjoying everything I was told not to!"
None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else."

Honestly, I have no interest in living to be super old at any cost. I've never dreamed of making it to 100 just because. Given the choice, I'd far rather live a short life the way I want to than a long one filled with restrictions and missed experiences. I'm only 39, but I'm old enough to already have a few regrets to look back on. I can assure you they are not the regrets other people swore I would have by this age when I was younger.

I regret not living authentically a lot sooner in life. I regret saying "no" to so many things that potentially would have been fun because I was too worried about what other people would think. I regret spending too much time and money worrying about appearances and collecting "things" that I no longer care about instead of investing more in experiences and making memories. I regret not saying "no" to people, commitments, and relationships I didn't want in my life so that I could say "yes" to the ones I did want. I will probably always regret those things because I will never get my teens or my 20s back and I hate that I didn't spend those years actually enjoying being young.

I do not and never will regret eating as many burgers and hot dogs as I wanted at Fourth of July barbecues. I don't regret the chances I took on people that intrigued me, even in the instances things didn't work out. I don't regret the times I flat-out refused to let other people make me feel like I have to apologize for who I am. I don't regret having been someone that actually takes the time to stop and smell the roses. I don't regret saying "yes" to bacon, and sex, and laughter, and art, and love. I never will.

I guess only God knows how and when I'm destined to leave the planet. I will graciously accept however many years he decides I belong in this body and living this life. However, should God's plan actually see me living to be 90 or 100, I fully intend to be able to say that I lived my life the way I wanted to. That I ate well, laughed a lot, and spent my days as joyfully as possible.
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