Gee, That’s Horrible, but What About Me?

The other day, a friend shared a NYT article about a young doctor who met the love her life during residency (yay) then left her husband after he figured out he was gay (boo) to start her life over (yay) before being stricken with cancer (boo) and finally dying (boo hoo hoo). I spent about 30 seconds contemplating the tragic trajectory of this woman’s life before I made it all about me.

I have conflicting responses to reading terrible stories like this. Both begin, Holy shit I’m so lucky that [insert tragedy, loss, insurmountable challenge, terminal illness HERE] isn’t me. My first response is to chastise the insolent child in me. Yeah you’re so fucking lucky. Why can’t you be more appreciative of your [insert abundant riches of blessings HERE]. You should meditate more, journal your gratefulness, leave loving notes for your husband and children and give up sugar. Contrite, my inner brat says yes, right, definitely, tomorrow.

Then she gets uppity. Holy shit that [insert tragedy, loss, insurmountable challenge, terminal illness HERE] could be me. Is this it? What have I contributed to the planet? Why did I wait to live my best life? Why would I have been so optimistic as to think I’d have plenty of time to start a business, get an advanced degree, learn to play guitar.

I know you’re waiting for this to end with my peaceful acceptance of bountiful blessings and that, you, Dear Reader, will then absorb my sense of calm and feel reinvigorated to embrace your own present. Sorry, but I think it’s high time we kick the shit out of life before it kicks the shit out of us. Go ahead and give up sugar and show your loved ones more gratitude, but take one step forward today towards your personal “I wish I [insert dream profession, hobby, altruistic endeavor, healthy improvement HERE]. And if you’re feeling brave, share it with us!

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