July 14th. Most know it as Bastille Day, the national holiday in France that marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress, leading to the eventual demise of its’ absolute monarchy.
I know it as the day my father’s struggle with cancer ended three years ago. After years of treatments, surgeries, and hope for a cure, it all came to an end.
They say you are whom your parents make you. If this is true, I am sincerely grateful. Throughout my life, my father guided me through thick and thin.
In his final letter to me, he wrote:
I have followed my passion and my heart and you’ll see what I have accomplished in a short time, exercising carpe diem and just going for it.
I think that this can be your legacy. As you have often heard me say, follow your passion and you will reap the rewards.
Beware of not taking your time and exploring all the avenues.
He stressed the importance of living life to its’ fullest and in the moment. I greatly value this philosophy.
When he was diagnosed with cancer, it was an uncertain time in my life. I was not sure what to do, but he led the way practicing his principles of carpe diem. After completing chemotherapy, he moved forward in the face of adversity and always found something new to learn from life. He chose not let his situation hold him back. Ironically, my father has been the most helpful in making sense of my mother’s recent passing.
It is simple to talk about a philosophy of life, but by example my father has taught me how to execute on this philosophy: to seize the moment, to be resilient in the face of adversity, and to learn what life has to offer.
I’ve always looked at everything that I’ve gone through in life as a learning situation, even though it might not have been under the best of circumstances (to be blunt, it sucked). I came to realize that if I took something away from the experience, it would be more manageable because it would be worthwhile.
Even though times may seem hard, it is important to not just try to get by. Learn from them and capitalize on what you’ve learned in the past as the future becomes the present.
My dad was an advocate of personal responsibility, which is why I’ve always felt comfortable creating my own path rather than following everyone else.
Too often, people do things just because they think that is what is expected of them or to please someone else. Only realize you’ve spent all this time doing something that you hated just to satisfy everyone but yourself.
Life is limited enough as it is. Don’t waste anytime doing something that doesn’t satisfy you.
Because if you do procrastinate, you may find that the deadline you set for yourself is tragically cut short.