My mother recently had a major surgery to remove a gigantic tumour from her abdomen. It was quite a traumatic thing to go through for us, her children. It turns out that nothing else is scarier in your entire mother daughter relationship than not knowing whether your mother will be dead or alive in a matter of mere hours while she is in the operating table. My sisters cried from the overwhelming flood of emotions, mainly worry, fear, and deep compassion for my mother’s pain. Surprisingly for such a cry baby I am, I managed to hold back mine, instead, I got into my usual crisis management mode, which is iron clad focus, research, and rationale. I had to have information, anything to help me understand and plan a course of action, I needed my reason and a way ahead to know how to handle this situation. So, I googled hard to find information on survival rates in old people who go through similar surgeries, eliminated every seemingly impossible outcome from the pages and pages of descriptions out there in the cyber world, bribed the nurses who had access to the OR and afterwards to the ICU to get me live news from the operation table. It worked, any information was better than not knowing and sitting there in anxiety and worry silently listening to loudly (in our heads) ticking clock. We coped together as much as we could.

My elderly mother is not the easiest person to persuade to do something or anything really. She is very stubborn, a blessing and a curse I too carry in my blood. So, every time we asked her to take care of her health and see a doctor, she would always say “leave me alone, I lived my life and if I die, it is ok”, this has been her response to any hints of any possible change in her daily routine for the past many years. But this time when she got the diagnosis that she had a mass completely occupying her abdominal cavity, and she has very limited chances to survive if she doesn’t act immediately, she reacted differently. She chose to fight, and fight she did with vigour, determination, and great deal of courage.

We the children were positively surprised, she even repeatedly reassured us that she is going to be ok and that we shouldn’t be scared, that she normally heals fast. Her usual negativity was completely replaced with optimism and hope for the best. After all, I learned to be strong minded woman with strong will from HER!

Her will to fight got me thinking…

Do we all have to have a life or death wake up call to take actions to change the things which are not working in our lives?! To finally gather that courage to be strong and make the hard decisions and get out of our comfort zones?! Heal the pain, get over the past, and look forward to the best future?! Life is precious at any age, and we all get only one life to make it count. Until there is a chance to live on, we keep choosing life over death, such is the survival instinct of all human beings.

So, what does it take for us to act proactively, and not to actually leave it until it is almost too late? Sometimes our brains seem to trick us by making us think that we can re-live our lives, that there is plenty of time to make up for those things which we never got around to do, for those lost opportunities we never dared to take. To read that book, to launch that business, and to learn that new skill, to stand up for ourselves, and say: “enough, my life is as important as yours, stop abusing me and my space!”

What is holding you back to get up and just do it and change one small boring thing at a time.

What is that wakeup call you need to live the life you deserve?! To free yourself from the chains of comfortable misery and to break through the cage of fear?!

The good news is that there is always a way to change your course of action to see immediate differences. You just need extra big courage to decide to act and not to be afraid of failure. Think of the failure as a test run for your efforts. Choose to live, not just drag through the days with this enormous yearning on your shoulders.

I certainly am not a stranger to such despair and loss of hope at times. Sometimes I simply cannot cope with the hardships without falling into the traps of negativity and hopelessness. But it always help me to bounce back when I make an effort to choose life over death, action over stagnation, and failure over regret.