Life’s Short. Some Clarity on Loss… and Achieving Fulfillment

I have written about loss in the past, but with the great losses of people from this world in the past week, I feel compelled to circle back.

Life is short. That’s pretty cliché, right? But it is. In the past two months a friend of a friend who I had recently met died after “routine” shoulder surgery at the age of 50. Last Thursday, a friend of mine died at the age of 28… And the cause is unknown. 28?! Insanity. And then yesterday one of the greatest innovators of our time, Steve Jobs, died much too young. Mark, Linda, and Steve still had so much to give this world and to experience themselves and now they are gone.

So I feel compelled to do something – to live a life so full that I will never look back and say “I shoulda,” “I coulda,”… or “If only…” I want to live my life in earnest and make every effort to only do those things that bring me fulfillment. People questioned my decision to leave a job recently before I had found another one. And it is exactly for these reasons that I had to. Like Steve Jobs has said, life is too short to have what you do for a living be anything less than what you want to do. You might think it’s a luxury to be able to take the steps to do that for yourself, but I think it is short-sighted and maybe even a bit lazy not to. Do what you need to do to make those connections, to get the education or training you need, and to make a move to work that will not only satisfy you, but may even fill your soul. Of course we can and absolutely SHOULD get contentment and satisfaction through all other parts of our lives, like volunteering and spending quality time with loved ones, but we spend so much time working that it should be something we enjoy.

It’s also the 2-year anniversary of the death of a dear childhood friend and almost one year since I lost my brother Terry… My heart truly aches, but these anniversaries, coupled with these other recent losses, are also fuel that drives me to continue to follow my heart and do what I want (and need) to do to achieve true fulfillment in my life. Loss is incredibly hard, as the families and friends of Mark, Linda, and Steve are experiencing right now. But we are so lucky to have known them and to have had them as part of our lives in any way.

The bottom line is that it’s time to follow your heart. As Steve Jobs also said: “There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Don’t let fear hold you back, especially with keeping in mind how truly short life can be. Let’s use these losses as fuel to live better lives – lives that aren’t just “better” on the surface, but deep down where it counts.

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