I have been volunteering at an assisted living facility for 10 weeks now and I didn’t think it would have as much of an impact on me as it has. I think I have learned more about what it means to live from those 10 weeks than in my entire life. As I sat, trying to write a paper on my experience, one quote played on repeat in my mind.
“We all have a story to tell, a story we created, we may not have much of a future anymore, but we can tell you exactly how we got here…”
– Justin, 87
Justin then went on to talk to me about how important it is to decide how you want your future to look so you can start making decisions that will lead you to that today. I answered all of his questions about my dreams, and goals, and relationships, and told him my name and major at least 50 times in less than an hour. But this single quote, really made me stop and reflect. And here is the lesson on living I took away…
Every day, we make decisions. Every day we are creating and writing a page in our story. Every day we are given an opportunity to end one chapter and start another, or to add a plot twist. Sometimes we get to create the plot twist and exciting moments, other times, they are just put in there due to life circumstances. Either way, we get to design it, we get to write it, we get to live it, and the way we live will be the way we die. The way we live today, the way we live this very moment, will be the way we live until our last breath. Because the way we live our life is the way we write our story. What perspective are you going to take while writing your story… the hero, the captain, the boss, or are you going to be the victim. Trust me, I know, it is so easy to write in the perspective of a victim. “I couldn’t do ___ because of ____ situation.” “I can’t believe ____, did this to me, how dare they. I won’t be able to do anything now.” “That toxic person just caused me too much damage, I could never open up again.” “I always dreamed of doing that, but because of ____, ____, ___, ____, ____, & _____, I won’t ever be able to.” Do these sound familiar? (they do for me, I have past chapters filled with sayings like these. I’m working on re-interpreting those chapters)
The way you handle today will determine how you view your life in the end. Don’t just be the writer of your story, because in all honestly we all write our own story. So instead, write your story in a perspective that sustains life, happiness, and love, most importantly love, because when the day comes when you no longer have much of a future to look towards, you will be reading your story and if that story was written in a perspective other than one focused on life, happiness, and love, then how do you think you will feel at that point in life?
Let’s start to change the perspective we write our stories in now. Remember we can close one chapter and start another, maybe in this chapter you can finally shift your story telling perspective, to one that puts you in charge and leads you to a life filled with love.
I am so beyond grateful my life crossed paths with Justin and all the other residents that I learned so much from at the Assisted Living Facility. This lesson I learned on living will be one I hope to share (and remind myself of) continuously on my journey because when the final days do come, I know I will have created a story filled with love.