Why is it that we have to wait to lose something from our lives to really, truly value it?
The saying "you don't know what you've got until it's gone" resonates so deeply within me. I had to unfortunately reach a place of complete loss to only then see the true value and worth of things. The scary part, is that I am not alone, so many of us do this on a daily basis. We are so busy trying to acquire a perfect "life CV" that we don't stop to evaluate what is really important to us and what creates a meaningful life.
We take our health for granted indulging in pleasures or destructive habits that do not serve our body...
We take our family for granted, often thinking they will always be there, taking up weekend work or staying back late to earn those extra dollars for more "stuff!"
We take our money for granted, spending big when we have lots of it....
We also take the smaller things for granted....our legs that hold us strong and help us walk, the freedom of having a choice and a voice, the power of education, our animals, nature and the list goes on....
But what if you had those things or even just one of those things taken away from you?
How much would you miss it?
Would it make you re-evaluate your life?
Perhaps it would change your perception of how valuable that thing was to you?
I used to take all of the above for granted. I raced through life at 100 miles an hour with self-destructive habits, working long hours, spending big, scheduling in a million activities into my life, not prioritising my health, never listening to my body and taking everyone for granted! As at that moment in time...I was fine and I had everything. Until.....I lost it all!!
When I became sick with CFS back in 2011, I had to quit my job, move back home with my parents, dip into all my savings and further into debt, I could not walk, I could not eat anything, I could not clean, wash my hair or go to the supermarket to buy groceries. Everything was taken away from me including my sense of self.
But the one thing that was hardest to deal with and hit me the hardest was the loss of my health. My health, my wellbeing and my happiness was stripped away and I could not function. Without it, I had nothing and could do anything. As I laid in that hospital bed with my family by my bedside, thinking I was going to have to say goodbye to them, I started to reassess everything.
Why had I taken the precious time with them for granted?
Why had I not prioritized my health?
Why had I not listened to my body and treated the only vessel I will ever have, the one that is carrying me through life, with care and love?
Because I did not know what I had until it had gone....
I did not know that absolute WEALTH of being healthy.
I did not know that without my health, I literally could not do anything!
I did not know without my health, I could not work, I could not play, I could not do the things I loved.
I did not know how precious time and life was and that at any second, any minute, it could be taken away.
But I sure do now!
My perception of life has completely changed. I value things differently. I see life through different lenses and my priorities of what is important has changed forever.
My health is my wealth and above all else! It is No.1 and I refuse to suffer through life.When I am pushing myself or taking up new projects and considering doing "more" things and I start to feel run down or burnt out...I remind myself of how it felt laying in that hospital bed and it is an easy decision for me to pull back, say no to people or even stop doing something, such as cutting back on work. For me personally, I would rather live in a tent on the side of the road with no material wealth but be completely healthy and content in the mind rather than ruin my health by striving for more and more and more....
My family and spending time with them, especially Phoenix (my 18 month old) is invaluable! When I think about how quickly life can change and how quickly things can be taken away from us, making decisions like not going back to work full-time or making sacrifices to live on the bare minimum comes easy to me. Prioritising our precious time together before he is off to school is an easy decision. I always base my decisions on the fact that if I was to fall terminally ill tomorrow, would my time have been well spent? What would I miss the most?
So I encourage you to also STOP for a minute, take a break from your busy life and rather than waiting to lose something to only then realise it's true value, ask yourself the tough questions now.
Are my priorities in check?
What is most important to me and closest to my heart?
If I lose my health tomorrow and fall sick....what else will it cost me in my life?
What really is success to me? Is it things, material wealth, accolades, or is it something else?
If I die tomorrow, would I have spent my time wisely and with those that I love with no regrets?