The Air I Breathe

Walking beside those going through tough journeys such as cancer has sparked valuable insights about my own life. Here are a few:

Insight #1: Every day is a gift; unwrap it with great expectation.

Insight #2: Don’t live life with regrets; just learn from them.

Insight #3: You can make a difference whether you have one minute or ten years.

Insight #4: Kneel before life is too hard to stand.

 I thought about these insights again recently while I was talking with the coordinator of the After Breast Cancer Program in Middle Tennessee. As I was giving her an update on where I’d been and what I’d been doing, she remarked, “girl, you’re incredible, you run around like your pants are on fire!” We laughed hysterically about her way with words. Along with a daily dose of humor, her words gave me something else—another insight.

Insight #5: Treasure the air you breathe; never take it for granted.

Oftentimes, at speaking engagements I give an analogy for living that I think women especially need to hear. Before take-off, every flight includes a safety briefing. The flight attendant says, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then help the person next to you.” Too often I hear women saying they don’t have time to exercise, prepare a home-cooked meal, or even rest. They’re just too busy taking care of everyone and everything.

Treasure the air you breathe now. Whether you’ve battled cancer, walked beside someone or you’re just running around like your pants are on fire—make a daily promise to yourself: put the oxygen mask on yourself first! Only then are you equipped to bless others.

I unwrap every day with great expectation. Even though my spark of hope may flicker at times, I keep on expecting. I’ve learned a lot from my regrets; they’ve made me a better person. I make a point to ask every cashier, “How are you,” even when I’m in a hurry—it only takes a minute.

I make big plans for my life as though I’ll be around for ten years times ten. I treasure the air I breathe. I do not take it for granted. I make time to exercise. To me, it’s just like making time to brush my teeth. I take time for a nap or early bed when I’ve been running around like my pants are on fire. I spend time kneeling, even before life is too hard to stand. Treasure the air you breathe.

(First written for The Pink Fund Blog – February 2012)

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