Thursday, October 20, 2011

Priorities

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose."   -Steve Jobs, 2005


I've never been one to have clear-cut priorities in my life.  I've always just done whatever I wanted to do, in whatever order I wanted to do it, whenever I felt like it.  I've always envied people who had that single, driving passion from day 1 and followed it forever.  That's just never been me.

I've also frequently put things (and people) ahead of myself.  But like the Steve Jobs quote at the top of this posting says, nothing changes your perspective and priorities like realizing you are about to die.  It does something to you.  People used to tell me that, but I never understood what they were talking about until it happened to me.

16 months ago, on my way to the hospital, I was convinced I was having a heart attack and I was convinced I was about to die.  For hours after that in the emergency room, I was still sure I was having heart problems and death was imminent.  A cardiologist once told me they don't do open heart surgery on people over 500 pounds.  So I was sure the grim reaper was knocking on the door and the game was over.

When I discovered I was going to live, but only with major changes in my life, it all became very clear.  Like no other time in my first 37 years on this Earth, it all became crystal clear.  I remember hearing myself say it over and over in my head laying in the hospital bed for 6 days straight:

"Nothing matters anymore except my health.  Nothing."

And in one fell swoop, everything went out the window.  All that mattered was my health.  Doing what the doctors told me, following a regimen and setting up everything to support a healthy lifestyle was job #1.  Anything that got in the way had to go.  I am motivated by the will to live, no other reason.

That is my #1 priority.  What's yours?

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