This Is Your Life…and Death

On an episode of House, there was a patient who got angry with Wilson because he was no longer dying. 3 months prior, he’d been diagnosed with cancer but it was a false positive. Wilson thought that the man would be happy. Naturally, House came in to the office just to watch the man’s reaction. He got angry because he was going to live.

“You aren’t suing me for a wrong diagnosis but a right one?”

He said that he was happy living in the present and now that he wasn’t dying…Wilson had taken that away.

“He isn’t mad because of a death sentence. He’s mad because I gave him a life sentence.”

This got me thinking…What we seem to forget that our lives ARE ending…one minute at a time. Death is the ONE thing that’s absolutely certain in this life…so why wouldn’t we live in the present? Do we need a terminal illness to remind us that life is precious?

I used to be stuck in the past…or I would spazz too much about the future. What if’s haunted me day in and day out…but I’ve realized that I’m wasting my life with every second I dwell. This is my life and it’s ending one minute at a time.

I could get hit by a car when I go out for lunch. I could trip and fall downstairs, breaking my neck. I could have a stroke. I could get pneumonia and not survive it. I *could* get cancer.

Any of this could happen an hour, a day or 15 years from now. I don’t need a diagnosis to tell me that I’m dying…I know I am..we all are but until then…we’re alive.

Why not live in the present and be as happy as we can be?

What if you were in that man’s shoes and you were given a “second chance” at life? Or if you were the doctor…what would your reaction be?

Finding ‘Home’

[Photo credit: *MaryElise*]

“One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time. ” ~ Hesse

When I was 9 years old, we moved to a brand new city, away from the apartment that I had known as home since the day I was born.

When I was 10 years old, I was uprooted completely and moved across the ocean to a brand new country…Away from everything I knew as ‘home’.

And now, I’m uprooting my life once again…to define what home is for me but this time, I’m doing it alone. Because for the past 5 years, at least, home hasn’t been this house. It hasn’t been this chaos. I’ve found home in the little things…the times I spend with my brother and dad alone. And every thing that I’ve bought with the purpose to keep me rooted. I’m a very sentimental person. I don’t buy things on impulse usually and everything has a story to it.

So I’m having a real hard time figuring out what to leave behind…because as I move forward to define my own life, I’m afraid that I might not have a home to come back to because this family might fall apart without me. My brother’s promised me that he’ll keep my things safe for me. He knows what every keepsake means to me. But do I give that responsibility to a boy who has enough burdens on him as it is?

The other night, I went through all of my books and put aside hundreds to be sold at a yard sale…because I can’t take them all. I have boxes of pictures…I have posters and flags and little knick-knacks that each have meaning and define a moment in my life.

I feel like if I don’t take the things that matter, I won’t stay rooted no matter where I am. Because when I leave, the turmoil might cause me to be ripped from my extended family. I don’t even know when I’ll go back to Turkey again…

I am redefining home…because apart from Turkey, I don’t know what home is…not really. With every passing year, my family has disintegrated more…pushing me further away. I’ve done all I can to keep myself grounded and not let that part of me fade away.

I know deep in my heart what matters but I’m afraid that without the physical reminders, the memories will fade away.

Maybe I’m just scared.

Because for the first time, I’m redefining ‘home’on my own, thousands of miles away from where I belong.

What is home to you? Do your parents still live in your childhood home where you can go back and see physical reminders of your childhood? Are you sentimentally attached to ‘things’?

I Am the Author. You Are the Audience. I Outrank You!

Face it.

We will spend our entire lives having the people around us dictate what is ‘best’ for us. It may be directly or indirectly but the judgment in their tone, the words they choose, the look in their eyes will shift us a degree or five without us even realizing…because if they view it as wrong, then maybe we should rethink it.

The group of people in our lives who will do this the most will be family. Parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles…everyone who think they know us simply through blood relation. The ones who think they know us without even asking us what is going on in our world. That is the most dangerous of all.

“They’re family. They wouldn’t do anything to harm me.”

True. They wouldn’t do anything to harm you…consciously. But just because they’re family doesn’t mean they know you…and if they don’t know you, how can they gauge what is best for you?

I may have failed logic but common sense is one of my better subjects in the school of life. And I am an expert witness. Go ahead and voir dire me and let me tell you about all the uncertainties caused by the experiences that have made me qualified enough to be an expert in the area of poison by family.

Passive-Aggressive is the family’s strongest weapon, reinforced by guilt. After all, they raised you. They brought you into this world. You owe them the satisfaction of having your life dictated by their wants and needs. Because they think they know you when the only thing they know is a shell of a person because they refuse to listen and see the truth. In reality, it’s easier to avoid the truth and stick to one road with blinders on. After all, the only thing they’re harming is your determination to be the best you can be…because these days, that’s a crime.

So we grow up, conforming to what they want because after all, they know best. Our confidence and creativity get thrown on the back burner as we go through life in the steps expected, not wavering…not finding ourselves but rather, continuing to look in from the outside as if our life is a movie that we’re watching on the big screen. We want to yell at the person on the screen as if we’re yelling at a character in a horror movie about to get pushed down a flight of stairs.

“TURN AROUND. He’s right beside you.”

Not all of us survive the fall.

The good news is that your life isn’t a movie.

It’s in your power to re-write the script.

You are the one person that can find you…that knows what’s best for you…because guess what…

You’re the writer & the lead actor. So why don’t you start taking control and living your life according to your own lines?

*Title credit: The Producers (1968) – Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars)

A Time to Kill My Dream

“What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts? “

I was 12 when I watched A Time To Kill and as I watched Jake Tyler Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) fight for justice by separating people from their prejudices and making them see with their hearts, I decided that day I wanted to be in a court room one day, fighting for justice myself. My career choice wasn’t put on me by my parents…it was my own passion that led me down that path. Once I reached high school, it was clear that I would do everything I could to pursue my education in law, even if I hit a few bumps along the way.

“And until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be even-handed. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices.”

I entered the debate team of my high school in 9th grade. My sophomore year, I tried out and became a lawyer on our Mock Trial team. My first three years in high school were spent researching and writing up arguments. I spent many nights after school debating, practicing and going over evidence. The first time that I entered the courtroom for our trial and made my opening statement was one of the most exhilarating nights of my life. I knew that’s where I belonged…even with my shaking hands and fast-beating heart.

One of the reasons that GWU became my first choice for college was their debate and mock trial teams. Once I was accepted into their undergrad program in their International Affairs School, I began researching information for tryouts for debate & mock trial. This was it. I was moving forward with my dream.

Unfortunately, I never made it to the try outs. Since I was living at home and any extracurricular activities naturally met in the evening, my parents weren’t comfortable with me hanging around campus late…even though this is what I’d been working towards for four years. In one moment, all of my dreams were crushed. I spent my nights working part-time instead. I never forgave my mom nor myself for letting her get away with everything she’s gotten away with…I wonder how different my life would be now if I had pursued debate and mock trial in college.

The strange thing is…as much as I want to move onto law school, I think that the next step in my life after getting my B.A. in International Affairs will be a Master’s in journalism. Or Criminal Justice. I know that I want to be involved in justice and making a difference one way or another. Will I ever stand in a court room and speak to a judge & jury again? I don’t know…but I do know that even though one dream was crushed, the little girl who was moved by justice, perseverance and passion won’t ever let me give up on my dreams again.

Did you ever watch a movie that had such a big impact on you? What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you pursue it? Why or why not? Are you happy with the career you chose or would you rather be doing something else? If so, what?