I have discovered something through my heart condition that you cannot be taught. Appreciation for life, and the importance of how you live it.
On many occasions, pre-heart disease, my life appeared to be an unrealistic fairy tale waiting for something to go wrong. My parents held a healthy relationship, my grades stayed steady through school, and although we were not rich, we had money for what was important to us. The normalcy, and predictability created an undercurrent of apprehension and resentment in my perfect life.
In a perverse way, I wished for something bad to happen to me so that I could stand out. My childish desire for attention, mixed with my lack of direction in life, made me desperate for a thing by which to identify myself. It leaves me wondering… Did I ask for this heart condition?
“… I wish my dad would hit me, I just wanna feel shitty. Move me around a bunch so I can get bullied, I want to feel something other than goofy…”
I was incredibly naive, in the sense that the thing that I was wishing for often leaves people drowning in a state of emotional turmoil for years. The strength to thrive in life comes from the values and composure of the individual carrying the burden, not from the circumstances of the burden itself. Those who focus in on positivity and happiness, magnify its impact in their lives, diseased or not.
Since being diagnosed, I have been trying to identify myself apart from the heart condition I subconsciously willed upon myself. In the effort to become my own person beyond the disease that precedes me, I have defined what I value in life, and the way in which I live it.
Why does it take a life altering experience for us to appreciate the life that we have? We fear change, instead of embracing it in the anticipation of learning something new. The spectre of death does not have to be the catalyst to live our lives with enthusiasm. Challenges are opportunities to learn. Stop seeing the world as an obstacle, and you begin to see it as an adventure.
What do you appreciate in your life?