8 Valuable Lessons Learned from a Friend with Devastating Cancer
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8 Valuable Lessons Learned from a Friend with Devastating Cancer

Being a full-timer with side businesses while desperately trying to scrape enough cash for a single brick that builds the tiny apartment you and your other 7 family members are going to be squashing into; life isn't as fulfilling as one would imagine back when you still needed a note to get out of gym class.

One day, I met this new friend at the bookstore around that quiet corner after a long day of onerous work. A shadowy corner usually veiled by layers of fog suddenly caught my attention. Perhaps it is the 9 3/4 platform to the land of knowledge and fascinating stories.

Without a moment of hesitation, I flung myself into the store while my adventurous spirit was calling for an adventure away, hoping to put all my troubles away for the moment. That, was where I met my new friend, Jim.

That was the very first time we have ever met, and we totally hit it off with his inspiring lifetime stories. His words and stories were like the pair of warm hands of your grandfather, warm and steady. That figurative boulder which has been suppressing my chest vanished into thin air like it was never there, and I was as happy as Lee Wai Sze Sarah (a.k.a the Hong Kong cyclist goddess) snatching that gold medal when I walked out of that bookstore. 

Lesson learned

Before we left the store, he inspired me with 8 ways of how to live a more fulfilling life after what he has learned from after being a 12-year cancer patient:

  1. The past is the past.

  2. The present is all we have, and so as 99 troubles.

  3. Aware that we are not in a great spot in life

  4. Ask anyone who serves you during the day, "how are you doing today?"

  5. Make your bed.

  6. Make a change today, not tomorrow, not when hell freezes over

  7. Reinvent yourself

  8. Be vocal about your love for your beloveds.

  9. A family picture.

1. The past is the past.

As Shakespeare once put it, "What is past is prologue." None of us should dwell what we have left behind. We most certainly do not live in nor for the past; we live for the now and beyond.

2. The present is all we have – for certain. Invest in it.

As an answer to Sarah's recent defeat, Ray Evans and Doris Day put together the most remarkable and memorable inspiration which we could all take away with;

Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be, will be.

3. Everyone lives with adversity – if not always – at least at some points in their life.

"We are all in the gutter....." - Oscar Wilde

4. Ask someone, "How's your day."

This random action is widely unpopular in the Asian culture, mostly because Eastern cultures are more implicit comparing to the Western culture, and this is even more obvious for those who caught between the two different cultures.

Nevertheless, the thoughts of asking someone else how they are doing is a two-fold theory: 1. Showing how much of a human are you instead of someone who cares for nothing but him/herself. 2. Letting the person whom you are asking knows that he/she is never alone.

5. Make your bed every morning. It gets your day off to a good start.

This is a healthy habit everyone should be doing since your first word. That's just decent self-discipline. 

6. If you need to make a change or have a new goal – start it today.

"Oh, yea, I have got, uh...... a thing.......I swear I have something for this......" This is exactly the go-to reason for procrastination. Starting is always hard. If this is any of a consultancy, find a friend you dislike the most and invite them to be part of the change, because misery loves company. 

No that's not it, it's because you really want to make a change, and you want someone to be there to witness that when that happens.

7. Reinvent yourself with regularity. Learn to play a musical instrument. Take a new class. You are never too old for anything.

Consider your phone is running out of updates and start crashing whenever you are trying to send a message to your friends. You do not want to be there when that phone is turning into scrap.

8. Remind the people in your life that you not only love them – but that their life has real value to you and others. We all need that reminder.

All we need is love, not just for ourselves, but for someone outside our own bubble.

What comes next

Life is not always as fulfilling and satisfying as we could all wish for, especially when our desires grows without boundaries. We all once wanted that cool piece of toy our loaded neighbor had, but then that was not enough after we finally nagged our way to the store with that very toy in our hands.

Peace is found within, and the only way of grasping a fulfilling life is to look inside yourself, look with calm, clarity and lots of love. 

Ref:  Jim Higley's "12 Things I’ve Learned Living 12 Years With Cancer" at The Huffington Post

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