On the Eve of 40

SunsetThis weekend my family was in a car accident.  We were stopped at an intersection…then BAM, hit from behind by a SUV moving at full speed.  By the time I realized what happened, my mind was racing through the normal list of concerns.  Is Zachary hurt?  Are we going to hit the car in front of us?  Will we all make it out of this OK?  Looking over the wreckage, I was unbelievably thankful that everyone from both cars were physically unscathed and that it appears I will make it to my birthday in three weeks.  The car wreck hastened reflection on the life I’ve lived during my first 40 years and the lessons I have learned.

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” -Buddhist saying

Pervasive emotional pain is a symptom that it is time to move on.  This is one of the most important lessons I have learned.  This is true in all arenas of life.  One of my most painful lessons about the consequences of not listening and responding to the signs it is time to move on was with a job.  Misalignment is crazy making and it will compel you to change yourself to make the insanity make sense.  In the end, it will leave you changed for the worse.  When in a misaligned system, whatever barrier you have created in your mind not to leave…’It will change’, ‘I’m not a quitter’, ‘I need to try just a little harder’, ‘who else will want me’…whatever the excuse is get over it.  The sooner you gracefully let go of things not meant for you, the quicker you open yourself of for the things that are.  And they are SO MUCH BETTER!

“When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt but the two rarely meet.” -Steve Maraboli

Learning the art of forgiveness is the #1 best gift you can give yourself.  People will hurt you and disappoint you, this is an absolute truth.  Another absolute truth is that you will hurt and disappoint other people.  Most of the time it isn’t purposeful, it’s the messiness of life and being human.  Holding a grudge never punishes the other person as hoped.  Forgiveness is about setting yourself free.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Gossip is a disease that will rob you of years if you let it!  People who are in hot pursuit of building something don’t have time to worry too much about what other people are doing.  Any habit that keeps you obsessed with comparing yourself to others and talking about how everyone measures up is a form of gossip.  The antidote to gossip: pursuing a great education, seeking out a rich tapestry of experience, and unrelenting intellectual curiosity.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

People matter.  Everyone has people they love and who love them.  Remember this fact in ALL decisions and it will serve you well.

All evidence suggests I will get to see my fortieth birthday and I am so thankful.  Aging is the highest of privileges.  The lessons our lives teach us is our testimony.  God willing I will have at least 40 more years to testify!

Shawna Beese-Bjurstrom, RN, MBA lives in Spokane, WA with her family where she is an Executive/Business Coach.  She writes on issues such as healthcare strategy, operational excellence, communication, and leadership.  For more valuable insights,  check out her blog!

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