Life can change quickly
I never consciously thought to myself that I was waiting, and it’s not like I was sitting around waiting for a fairy Godmother with a magical wand to come hit me over the head and say, “Okay, now you’re ready. Now you can start writing.” It wasn’t like that, of course, and it’s not that way for you either. But, if you peel back the onion, I guarantee each one of you can pinpoint what’s holding you back. It’s likely fear and it’s likely self-doubt, belief, procrastination, maybe the inability to really focus and even know what you’re goals are.
But the great news is that all those things are just learned activities. I can teach you how to set goals. I can teach you how to overcome procrastination. And I can teach you how to find your passion, because it’s in there. I’m not going to create it. It’s in there. So, what are you waiting for? Find out what that is and it’s really going to make you go beyond that.
If you’ve ever gone through a tragedy in your life, then you know how clear and apparent things are, and how your life now seems to make more sense. You know exactly what you want to do and who you want to spend it with, and you make a pledge to change things and to really live. So, those of you who have gone through that, you know what I’m talking about. Some of you don’t and be grateful for that. You will at some point in your life.
But I, personally, have gone through a tragedy that has enabled me to get that clarity. And it’s also what’s enabled me to really figure out what it was that I was meant to do and to really follow that passion and purpose. The story is in my book, “Winning In Life Now” in the chapter on getting started now. But this is not a story I’ve ever shared on the stage. It’s not one that I usually even share in workshops, because it’s still vey raw and emotional to me, but I’ll share it with you as best I can.
It’s been, gosh, almost 15 years now when my family went through a very devastating loss. My mother-in-law, her name was Cindy; she died in a car accident. And, I can’t begin to describe the pain and the devastation we all went through. He son was my husband, Chris, but he had two little brothers and sisters, and a husband, and parents that she was taking care of, and so much more. So, it was just devastating.
But for me, personally, it was a very difficult time, because I was nine months pregnant with our first son, and Cindy’s first grandchild. So needless to say, he was the joy of everyone’s lives. We all couldn’t wait until he arrived. Day after day, week after week, we’d get on the phone and talk about how I was feeling. She was so much a part of getting ready for him to come.
And, the night before the accident, Chris and I had a doctor’s appointment. We went to see my doctor, I was very far along, and this was on a Wednesday. He said, “There’s no way you won’t have this baby by this weekend. Guaranteed, he’s coming this weekend. All looks good. We’ll see you in a few days.” We were so excited, and I remember like it was yesterday that we went to dinner afterwards. We called my in-laws, told them the great news, they’re jumping for joy. But Cindy had said that she had a business trip to go to and she was leaving on Friday. She said that she would do whatever it took to be there. She would cancel the business trip if I felt like the contractions were starting. Knowing it was a relatively new job for her, I told her that I would call her in the morning and let her know how I felt, and I made a promise that if my contractions started increasing that I would call her and she would cancel her business trip the next morning.
It’s still emotional for me even now, but I never was able to make that call, because the next day was Thursday, September 9, 1999. It’s funny because I had such great expectations about that day. I thought it would be so cool for my son to be born on 9/9/99. I just thought that would be the coolest thing ever. However, that date was set in the stars for a very different reason.
My parents were actually the ones to give me the news, which is strange, but my father-in-law who lived several hours away, he was really concerned how it might affect me and the baby, seeing as I was so close to the delivery. He didn’t want to have me go into a state of panic and trigger labor. So, he felt like if my parents gave me the news in person, I would take it better. Of course, I don’t know how you take that information in a good way; it’s just devastating.
But, the worst part for me was my husband was on his way home. I had to call him and basically lie. I didn’t lie per se, but he said, “Call me today if you feel like the baby’s coming,” and I had to call him and I said, “Get home. Get home right away.” So of course, he came home thinking that the baby was on his way, and then, I had to deliver the news.
The day was a blur. We all got together, made the plans. But my biggest fear and the first phone call I made after hearing the news was to my doctor, and I begged him for help. Here I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to have this baby, but now, all I wanted to do was stop him from coming. I literally wanted to stop the contractions, however I could, because I couldn’t bear the thought of my husband having to bury his mother, and then also welcome his first born son on the same day, and it really was lining up to look that way.
So because I was so overcome by grief and those feeling easily could trigger my labor, they said that I basically had to stay as calm as possible and to stay lying down for as long as I possibly could. And I did. Believe it or not, my son who was supposed to arrive within a day or two was born 13 days after Chris’ mom died. I really consider it a miracle, because for a baby that was expected to arrive in just a day or two held back for 13 more days. I know it was a miracle from these wonderful doctors who helped me. And I know 13 days doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but it was enough for us to separate these two dramatically life-changing events.
Now, I tell you this story not to get sympathy or to bring everybody down and be sad, but just to say that we need to live our life to the fullest. We don’t know how much time we have, and as I mentioned earlier, the preciousness of life becomes so apparent during moments of departure, and also, arrival. That’s when your priorities shift. That’s when they become crystal clear.
I learned how quickly life can change and how short our time here is. But, we don’t have any guarantees and we don’t even know that we’re going to be here another day. I hope for all of you that you start living now…while you are in the living years.