Within my new job, I am working with a lot of people who are at the end of their lives. Many of them are only 15 to 20 years ahead of me in their age. Many are coupled with children and grandchildren. Machines breathe for them because they cannot breathe on their own. Machines feed them because they cannot eat on their own. Much of the time, they have a lot of pain and tend to be anxiety ridden because of their fears of the unknown.
It can be overwhelming to watch this type of thing day in and day out. I’ve allowed the situation to teach me about the importance of coming out of my comfort zone and what is truly important. People with backgrounds of trauma build walls around themselves to keep the outside world out. It is understandable given what previous situation they came out of. But working with this population makes me return to my own life thinking that my comfort zone may not be the thing I should always defer to after all.
Within the past week, I have noticed a few events in popular media that may have drew my attention: An article written in the New York Times about relationships and Viola Davis’ Emmy speech. Please get this right: I can appreciate loneliness just as much as I have compassion for trauma and the aftermath. Also please understand that I am happy for Viola Davis, her win and for pointing out the opportunity disparities that exist within Hollywood (Or anywhere else for that matter):
However, my current work assignment has also given me a very different perspective on loneliness, trauma and the fact that favor isn’t sometimes fair. One day, everyone, regardless of health status, background, relationship status, race, creed, color, religion and/or sexual orientation will have to do a life review and ask themselves if they have lived fully or if they have wasted precious time, energy, money on people, places and things that they cannot control.
My current work assignment has made me take better care of myself with eating the proper foods, drinking water, getting adequate rest and exercise. Otherwise, I am no good to myself or my patients. I have returned to my creative pursuits with more rigor than usual. It is especially important to the things that I set out to do because after all, I honestly do not know what kind of time I have. None of us can answer that question for ourselves really.
Life is larger than trauma. Life is larger than a relationship status (or lack thereof). Life is larger than secret societies that may or may not accept you. Don’t let any person, place or thing get in the way of enjoying your life. Never let anyone steal you joy. You always have yourself, your art and your spirituality to turn to. Come out of your comfort zone and do what you set out to do in this life while you can.