I am becoming that annoying person that people love to hate.
I am that person who comes storming into work each morning, over-caffeinated and far too cheerful. If you start to complain about your day, I am likely to say “Well, at least you are alive, employed, and have health insurance. It could be so much worse.” If you start to tell me your problems, I might zone out a bit because in my head I’m thinking “Really? These are problems?”
Don’t get me wrong. I have bad days, and I have bad moments and occasionally I throw a pity party for myself. But I can usually snap myself out of it by reading the posts of other cancer survivors/fighters or by going back and ready my own writing and remember how I longed to just have normal stressful days.
It annoys me when I see people just fester and spend an entire day angry about things that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Life really is too short. I was listening to the radio the other day to a snippet of a commencement speech given by Steve Jobs and he said:“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
And I’ll be honest, I may have said this all sounded like a bunch of pompous bull prior to this whole cancer thing. But those words resonated with me in a way that is difficult to express. And what he says about being unhappy too many days in a row – so very true. We all have obligations that have to happen and being employed isn’t optional for most of us. But if you are miserable at work everyday, then you are probably in the wrong line of work. I am fortunate that I have a career that I enjoy and manages to nourish me both intellectually and creatively.
And even if you are in a job that you have to do solely to pay the bills, what is the harm in trying to make the best out of it? There is nothing wrong with making the best of a bad situation. As Abraham Lincoln once said “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
So me? I’m going to be annoyingly happy.