When I was 24 years old, the left side of my body went numb.
This was followed by a series of bizarre neurological symptoms caused by lesions and hemorrhages that no one could tell me the cause of.
I thought I was going to die before I hit 30.
I didn’t die, but no one really knows why.
Everyone who heard my story and said, “If that happened to me, I would just go to bed. It would be too much not knowing.”
But for me, it was freedom.
With the help of a therapist, I began the process of accepting not only new physical limitations but a new awareness of my own mortality. And an unexpected thing happened.
I realized I wasn’t that important.
It’s true. I suddenly knew with every cell in my body that I could wake up one morning and be dead by that evening. I knew that life wasn’t guaranteed and all the pressures of self-importance that came with my life were ridiculous.
Because we’re all going to die.
So much of what is being taught out there is about loving ourselves, knowing our value, prioritizing our lives—and that’s all great.
But it’s a lot of pressure to be that important!
Are we doing enough? Are we contributing? Are we living up to our potential?
Once I knew I was going to die, and if I did the world would keep going, I could breathe again. I could make decisions just for me, take time and space in this world to live how I wanted to live. We are all going to die someday, anyway.
How unexpected that knowing I could just disappear, that life is just temporary, took the pressure off. It turned out, not being important was the key to valuing myself. I could let go of so much of the guilt and shame I carried, nourish myself, and actually begin to value my own experience.
We are all going to die. So, we may as well live.