I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the story of a classmate from my school. At the end of our Holistic Nutrition program, we were to complete a co-op placement, and Kim decided to go to Africa to help work on a Nutrition program that the school was setting up there.
I didn’t know Kim well, but I do know that she never quite fit in . She was a lovely person with the kindest soul, and it always seemed that she was searching for something more.
When she went to Africa, she found it. She loved working on the program, she met the man of her dreams, fell in love, and became pregnant.
And then she contracted malaria.
She have birth 6 weeks before her baby was due, and then she died.
I was told that before she passed, she told her loved ones that she refused to have her remains sent back to Canada. She had fallen in love with Africa and wanted both her body and her baby to stay there.
And this got me to thinking…
2. Is it better to die while living out your dreams, or live into old age without ever having really lived?
And I seriously had to sit and think about this.
Here I am, preaching the world to get out there and take chances, to risk the comfort and safety of their current lives, to venture into the unknown. And doing this is exactly what led to Kim’s death.
Have I gotten it wrong? Is the of pursuing your dreams some kind of improbable fantasy I have created, full of puppy dogs and rainbows and never having to endure pain again? How does my message change now that I have evidence of someone actually DYING because she was following her heart?
I sat with this for a while….
And then I gave myself a little shake, and snapped out of it!
Of COURSE there is risk involved with choosing to live life on your own terms. There is risk involved in just living, period.
The hazards of living a mediocre life are many. Resentment, mid-life crises, stress leading to a plethora of health problems. Always wanting something more. Never knowing what it REALLY feels like to be fulfilled. Constant BOREDOM. Constant FEAR.
Whether you’re deciding to leave a marriage, quit a job, go traveling, or work for yourself, you will come up against fear. Your mind will start performing its own complex risk:benefit analysis. You will find an infinite numbers of reasons NOT to go ahead with it.
When this happens, stop for a moment and think about what your life would be like if you were to stay in your current situation.
What would you be giving up?
What are you missing out on?
How would you be cheating yourself?
Would you rather burn out, or fade away?
Risk is inherent to life. And I firmly believe that if we don’t risk, we don’t really live.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you taken risks that have changed your life? How did you get over the fear and just go for it? Do you agree that it’s better to die living your dreams than to live forever in an unhappy life?