Have you ever had a moment that changed the way you thought about everything: your life choices, the way you speak to people? A few weeks ago, I did.
I went to my family doctor for a simple procedure, the removal of four moles. At an earlier appointment, she was sure they were normal. But once she got a better look at them, she decided they needed testing for cancer.
She told me, this was only precautionary. She just wanted to be sure. And my mentality changed. It wasn’t an instantaneous alteration. These changes popped up sporadically.
It all started almost a week after the extraction. I still hadn’t heard from pathology. I was at work and I had just finished scanning a woman’s items and was applying coupons, when the computer would not accept a coupon. She did not have the right amount of the product. She threw a rich white woman tantrum. All I could think was, Well, at least you aren’t dying of cancer. It came out of nowhere.
And there it began. That one thought spurred many more: If I have cancer, can I still go to school?; how will I pay for treatment?. As I worked through the day, I just wanted to leave and devote myself to my passions: writing and art.
Not only did I begin to question my life more, I became grateful for the things I had. The material: house, college education. But I was once again reminded why those things don’t matter. It’s the dogs barking when I get home and licking my feet. It’s being able to text my parents about the wonderful breakfast they made me. It’s about eating a wonderful peach. Those little things are what matter most to me.
I believe everyone gets these moments of clarity, and I think they define us. I have had a few so far in my life, when I needed them the most.
With my third year of college beginning, I have been dwelling on the future, unable to let myself live in the present. This scare jerked me into the present and reminded me of what is important to me.
My moles came back normal, but my thought process and priorities are jostled, hopefully back into focus.
It’s not about the fear of death. It’s about my time on this earth. Use it wisely.