By: Suzanne Maiden
None of us know when will die. Most of us don’t know how we will die. When someone has a catastrophic disease, this awareness is acutely activated. I am living on borrowed time. I am a two-time cancer survivor. For whatever reason, my body grows deadly tumors. So far, my oncologist has successfully cut them out; he has been able to do this because the tumors were not attached to any significant needed-to-live organs. Yes, I’ve had large pieces of bone, muscle, and nerves removed, and I have done amazingly well without them. I am so proud I no longer have to life my right leg with my hand to get in and out of a car. After I saw the movie, Men of Honor, with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert de Niro, in which Gooding plays the role of Navy Seal who loses a leg in a diving explosion and fully recovered, I vowed to strengthen my right leg. I vowed I would re-train my sensory nerves. I did. I still can’t lift it as high as I formerly could, but it’s 90% of former functioning.
But, it’s the knowing I’m living on borrowed time that raises my level of consciousness. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, I’m just sharing the facts, sharing tender pieces of my inner thoughts. How does this feel, knowing I’m living on borrowed time? It feels like I must be mindful of how I live the remainder of life. I feel rich instead of resistant. By rich, I mean in many ways this knowledge forces me to evaluate my life through a microscope. That’s rich, because until we are forced to do this, we tend to avoid the view. It’s easier. Am I afraid to die earlier? Not really. I still have a son to raise and I want to live long enough to raise him to a young adult. The statistics are not in my favor.
Living to old age has never been a goal of mine. I want to live well vs. long, if I could do both that would be wonderful. Whatever my fate, I want to live consciously. I want to live well, and exercise my fullest potential in every relationship and every endeavor. I want to live passionately. For me the goal is not only to survive – but thrive. This is how living on borrowed time gifts me.
I want to hear from you. I want to know if any of you resonate with this essay. How many of you are living on borrowed time, and how does it impact your short term and long term goals?