I've been finding it hard to walk down the street lately without seeing pink ribbons everywhere. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the most recent statistics predict that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. As a cancer nurse I have cared for more women with breast cancer than I can count. The scary thing is that there is no one certain type of woman who is diagnosed. I have cared for young women who were college students, grandmothers in their eighties and women at almost every age in between. Rich or poor, educated or not, cancer does not seem to discriminate one bit. But despite their difference in age, their journeys with cancer share one specific similarity. Regardless of the stage or grade or treatment plan, cancer has a way of taking over your life and forcing you to put aside the plans you made, at least for a while. The reality is simple, life is short and none of us can predict the future. If there are things you want to do, goals you want to accomplish, or places you want to visit, here are three reasons you should do them now.
1. There are no guarantees. It is so easy to put off today what we think we can do tomorrow. It almost seems like human nature to wait for the perfect time to make a change or take a chance. While we are great at setting long term goals, creating five-year plans at work or making reservations for next summer's vacation, the truth is the future is never guaranteed. If we want to take new steps in our careers or travel across the country it is our responsibility to make those things happen now. As they say, the days are long, but the years are short.
2. Don't put your dream off until tomorrow. If you have a dream, a goal or a bucket list it's important to take the steps to achieve it. Put your dreams on paper, spend some time considering the ways to make them real and celebrate the satisfaction of knowing that you made them happen. With the internet available to us at all times, we have the resources and information available to get started. Take the first step and start moving in the direction of your dreams today.
3. Enjoy the present. It is so common to dwell on what happened to us in the past or look ahead to the future but the truth is the present is all we have, so it makes sense to enjoy it. Play with your kids, spend time in nature or enjoy your favorite ice cream flavor. But do it today, because it is honestly the only time we can definitely control. Change your perspective and you will truly change your life.
Here is the one thing cancer has taught me about life: You have to live it day by day, moment by moment. And if there is something you yearn to do, an experience you dream of having, an opportunity you imagine creating, start thinking about it seriously right now. Whether it is spending time with your family, learning to surf, or something bigger like planning a safari or bungee jumping, it's important to be intentional about how you want to spend your time. Make each day matter, live your life fully and you are less likely to have regrets.