One Life

Last week, I was asked what the key turning points in my recovery were.

There were quite a few – my teeth, another close call, the isolation, the increasing social disconnection, my brother, despair – but one powerful motivation which seems so obvious (now) that I rarely reflect on it, and seldom give it much space –

We have – that I know of – only one life.

We have only one shot at enjoying this golden opportunity; one chance to make the most of the stuff that we have.

And I do not want to waste mine.

So I remember, standing in my bedroom, before I was about to embark on my nightly binge, suddenly feeling my life slipping away between my fingers – and realising what was meant by the notion that I was “throwing it all away”.

And I can pinpoint – as I was about to shut the day out behind closed curtains – the moment when the frustration I’d been feeling about my inability to change tipped, finally, into a resolution to make the most of my one chance, and to not let another day to go to waste…

It didn’t happen overnight – change is often slow – but the switch was flicked –

One life. One chance. One opportunity that I was desperate not to waste.

I was reminded of this today. The context is very different now, but the feelings and the sense of stuckness are almost the same. I can feel myself standing in my way. Again. And the frustration is rising and writhing, like a desperate scream.

So, I tried to work out where the echo came from, and decipher what lay underneath the gabbled words and half-formed sentiments, and I found what feels like the source of the confusion –

We only have one life, and I am not using mine well.

I know it sounds melodramatic. I know it puts the pressure on. I understand that it has resulted in me reaching a ridiculous state of near hysteria about something as insignificant, really, as a day job –

But, despite everything that’s happened – and in spite of my overcast take on the world and my completely exaggerated fear of death – I love life.

Love it.

And I only have one chance to really be my best.

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5 Responses to “One Life”

  1. This post hit me in an unexpected place. For some reason I thought of all the times that I so carelessly say things like “ah you only live once” right before I do something distructive like eat food I know makes me sick just because it tastes good or not do my self care stuff. Like somewhere along the way I got mixed up about what LIVING really is.

    Thanks for this post, it is great food for thought.
    Hugs, Darlene

  2. See, yet another gorgeous piece of work by Finding Melissa. Our process crosses at so many unexpected spaces for me hon. This vision for hope is just what the doctor ordered for me. Thanks again hon )

  3. Abby says:

    There usually is no “one specific point” where things change. It took a long time to truly get disordered and it takes a long time to recover (as we know all too well.) However, there are those “aha” moments where we truly realize what we’re doing. When caught in the eye of the storm (or the binge or the exercise) it can be easy to take things for granted and forget that we’re given one shot at this thing.

    What’s often difficult is that when you’re really low, really entrenched, you almost don’t even care about that “one life” more than you care about feeling “better,” whatever that means at that point.

    Thanks for the positive reminder.

  4. I admire your strength. Realizing the value of your life is the first step…you’re on the right track. Just hang on. Life may not still be pretty all the time, but you can still enjoy and make most of the ride while you are at it :) ) I’m glad I met you (via twitter). You inspire me… ~Ley

  5. Melissa says:

    Thanks so much for these comments and apologies for the delay in responding. I’m glad that it touched a chord and love hearing your comments.

    Abby – I remember those horrible non-feeling moments too, and also, for me, the pain in getting the Aha – but not knowing how to make it happen. I suppose the other message, for me, is to be patient – to hold onto the moments of motivation because they plant the all important seed; and to remain open to possibility, because I certainly didn’t see my changes or anticipate the moments of revelation coming. There’s no answer – but, however distant it feels, always hope.