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By C.E. Shebat

Plan.

Plan B, C, D, E.

Safety nets.

I don’t believe in that anymore. I once had a ‘fail-safe’ plan, only to have it ripped away from me when I thought it was set in stone. But until something has happened, nothing is guaranteed.

Plan for your dreams. List the steps to your goals. But be okay if you have to adjust, most times you will.

After being asked to have a backup plan yet again, for the first time, since I’ve made this decision to launch myself into the unknown, I realized that the thought of being completely unsure no longer scares me. I’m okay with the unseen. Today, in this moment, I am happy. And I’m letting it be.

Sometimes life steps in and reconstructs the plan and sometimes it changes us, so we no longer want what we once yearned for. Yes, many are okay with going with the motions, and quite frankly, perhaps that’s the path for this life journey. But I’ve witnessed too much and experienced even more to look at life the same way.

My friend’s father shot himself, six days after she returned from visiting. My friend’s brother got into an accident and died. My friend’s father had a heart attack. My friend’s mother died from cancer. My neighbour had two strokes before a final one ended his life. My friend’s father lost his life one morning after dropping his sons to school. My friend’s grandmother got stabbed to death by her daughter. My uncle died after cancer destroyed him. My friend lost her brother before her final year of high school. My friend’s brother was shot to death. A past teacher didn’t survive a relatively routine surgery.

Another uncle died after almost a decade of battling a debilitating disease. My friend’s brother died the year after high school. My uncle suddenly died from a heart attack. My neighbor was ill, went into the hospital for treatment, got pneumonia then died. A teacher in her early thirties left school one day and died from complications with diabetes. Another teacher had a brain aneurysm one evening. My friend’s friend committed suicide because he feared being ridiculed because of his sexuality. A sophomore died of a heart attack from an underlying condition, right there in her dorm.

My 30 year old neighbor had a heart attack and died. My friend’s mother suffered from cancer then passed away. An old teacher of mine, in her mid forties suddenly got breast cancer and died. A young woman ended her life by jumping off the second story in her house, leaving behind a toddler, infant, and a grieving husband. My aunt’s husband’s cancer suddenly resurfaced and his health spiraled out of control. They have three children. A freshman died of septic shock two months into his first semester. An old teacher of mine was sleeping in bed one night, when her husband came home and slashed her face. She lives still. Well, she’s alive, but I’m not sure if she’s started back living, maybe in time.

I was in a car, when the driver accidentally reversed off the cliff. I was 17. I lived. Perhaps because of luck or perhaps because it wasn’t my time. Fast forward two years later, I’m getting ready for bed when a crippling pain seized my chest and I couldn’t stand up. I was in a wheelchair. While I waited, for the first part I begged life not to take me away. But soon after, I made peace with dying, and my only wish was for it be quick.

Death used to be my greatest fear.

There’s an indescribable feeling of facing your fear head on, and surviving. It makes you feel like you do and be anything. You realize it wasn’t as scary as you thought. Or perhaps, it was even more so, but you’re still here. You made it. And now you have a story to tell. It makes you feel invincible. And because of that mindset, in a way, you are.

How can I not live a life true to me? How could I think that anything else is more important than loving and being loved? How could I not wake up everyday grateful for my life? How could I not live as fully and presently in each moment? How could I not chose me?

This life far too precious.

I am far too precious.

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