Life’s too Short – The Alternative View
Life’s too short.
We hear that phrase a lot. A recent viral post from Holly Butcher written in her final weeks reminded us that life is too short for focusing on the little things. We should embrace the body we have, enjoy the food we love, and appreciate that everything works whilst we are lucky that it still does. It’s hard to do when you’re enthralled in the moment, but Holly’s words resonated with so many when she said “when it’s time to go, you wont be thinking of the trivial things.”
When something bad happens to someone, it can give the phrase “Life’s too short” even more meaning, and when I lost my Mum 3 years ago that’s exactly what happened with me, but not in the way you might expect.
My view of “Life’s too short” has changed, because well, life, really is too short. My Mum was just 62 when she died. This wasn’t the plan, wasn’t the way life was supposed to pan out, and we never expected that we wouldn’t get to share so many of our precious moments with her by our side. I had to get used to the idea of being Mum without a Mum.
We have just one attempt at life (at very least our physical one) and there are no trial runs, no practice shots, and no second attempts – this is the only one you’re going to get. Each day, each week, each year we get with our loved ones is a blessing, a benefit we take for granted; waking up and living, whilst there are others saying their final goodbyes.
When life turns sour, or someone hurts you, breaks your heart or treats you badly, people often quote ‘life’s too short’ as a reason to take the past and lock it away, forgive and forget, to move forwards, be the bigger person, wipe the slate clean, pretend it never happened and start again, as if turning to a new page will make everything fresh and clean, seal up the wound and provide closure for those concerned.
Except that’s easier said than done.
When Mum died and my life changed, I guess so did my view of the world. I used to always play devils advocate, try and see the ‘other’ side, see the bigger picture and whatever the circumstances, try to believe that deep down, underneath it all, people were inherently good. I’d bite my tongue for the greater good, put on a brave face, supress my anxieties or vent to friends in private, but I’d put myself back out there, waiting for the next cycle of drama to unfold under the pretence of “lifes’ too short”. But then history would repeat itself, the same feelings would return, and this negativity would impact my life in a way that just isn’t necessary.
So now, I feel I know when to stop trying. When to realise that life really is too short, and not to waste it on unnecessary bullshit when you really should be living the life you have – embracing the ordinary, living in the moment and making the most of right now.
- In 2009 my Dad had a heart attack. He was saved by a simple turn of fate or karma – being in the right place at the right time. He was lucky. That morning could have easily been his last.
- In 2009 my Sister was in a pile up on the motorway where one lady sadly lost her life. 10 families lives were turned upside down that day in just a matter of minutes. When they all left the house that morning to head to work, none of them expected the events that followed.
- In 2014, we said our final goodbyes to Mum. She was diagnosed with cancer just 9 months before she died. She had chemo and radiotherapy, and passed away just two weeks her treatment stopped, having thought, just for a moment, that we’d beaten it.
- In 2017, I was hours away from death myself after contracting sepsis when Neve was born. Had I not gone to the hospital that night, I could have never woken again, and lost every memory I’ve made with my girls ever since.
All these things remind me that life IS too short, but for me, they’ve turned the phrase on it’s head.
Life’s too short for toxic relationships. Life’s too short for people bringing you down.
Life’s too short for arguments, for being made to feel small, worthless, disrespected, unduly criticised or unfairly treated.
Life’s too short to walk on eggshells, to surround yourself with anything other than what brings you happiness.
If this, right now, was the last 6 months of your life (something of which few of us can be sure), why would you spend it wasting time on things that don’t even matter?! Why allow something to stay in your life, when it does nothing more than bring you down?
So in 2018 I promised myself this. Life really is too short, so I will surround myself with those who make it better. Life is for living, for surrounding myself with love and laughter – the ones who make me smile, hold my hand when things get tough, wipe the tears away when life gets hard, and make me laugh until my cheeks hurt. Those who love me exactly I am, despite the grey hairs and the stretch marks, they see the twinkle in my eye, the spirit in my soul, and help me create happy memories for us all.
And as for the drama? So long. It can stay in 2017. Good riddance.