Today I’m welcoming Stacey Green to IDB. She’s one of the coolest chicks I know, not to mention full of amazing information and a killer sense of humour. Stacey’s a Nutritionist, Healthy Living Strategist and the creator of Crtl+Alt+DelEAT: Your 4-Week Healthy Living Reset (which I LOVED, btw), who dreams of one day having her son ask her for a birthday cake made of vegetables and hummus. Until that day comes she spends her time working with folks who want to know how to eat well without requiring a science degree. She takes the guesswork out of “What’s for dinner?” by showing you that food can be wonderful for your body, your taste buds and planet earth. Find her and all her musings at www.staceygreenliving.com and sign up for her newsletter so you never miss great posts!
I hope you enjoy her post as much as I do.
I’m dying. . . But as it turns out, so are you.
For many people, death is a pretty morbid topic. I mean, I get it; it’s not a particularly happy thing to talk about. No one goes to a dinner party and strikes up a conversation with a stranger like, “Hey so, talk to me about dying. Have you lost anyone you love?” You also may be thinking, “Wait, isn’t Stacey a nutritionist? Shouldn’t she be talking to me about food or something like that?” Yes, that is in fact true, but I’m going somewhere with this so bear with me.
Death has been a very real part of my life for as long as I can remember. My maternal grandfather died when I was six months old. (I obviously don’t remember that.) My paternal grandfather when I was nine. That one I do remember. I can vividly recall the smell of carnations in the funeral parlour and all of the sombre faces. But really, I was nine, so while I understood that my Poppy was going to heaven, it didn’t really affect my own day-to-day activities.
Then, when I was 14, my mother died. That one I felt. I remember the hospital room when she took her last breath, I remember leaving her there and walking through the parking lot thinking, “Now what?”. I remember the cemetery, and the spray of flowers on her casket. I remember asking if I could take the beautiful pink and white tulip from the bunch because I thought it was the prettiest. That was a pretty shitty day.
My life went on after that, as life does. I graduated high school and went on to university. I got married, had a baby and did all the things you’re supposed to do but for me, having lost my mom at such a young age really ignited this deep and basic understanding of life in general that I am grateful for everyday. This lesson and sense of perspective is I think one of my greatest gifts, even though it came out of something so tragic. I would love to share it with you now if you’ll let me. It has changed the course of my life many times and I hope that it does the same for you, if you need it.
Here it is: you never know how long you have on this earth so you’d better use what little time you have here to do whatever the hell you want.
Here’s the thing. If I came up to you today and said, “I have a crystal ball and I can tell you that you’re going to die in eight months” what would you do with knowledge? I can almost guarantee you would make some big changes and mighty quick. All of the shit that you think is important – the fancy cars, the new shoes, what your neighbor thinks of you – doesn’t mean a damn thing, I promise you that. If you only had a limited window of time left I would hope to God that you would use it to do all of the things that you’ve always wanted to.
And there’s the rub: YOU DO HAVE A LIMITED WINDOW OF TIME LEFT! We all do! Even if you are lucky enough to live to 100, that is only 100 years! If you’re 30 now, you’re almost 1/3 of the way there. That’s 70 birthdays, 70 Christmases, 70 summers on the lake. . . you get where I’m going with this. What that means to me is that now is the time to do the things you want to.
What are you waiting for?
Now, I’m not saying you should go into work tomorrow and quit your job and move to Bali. (Although, that does sound pretty fantastic.) What I am saying is stop wasting time because you think you have endless amounts of it.
Here is my nutritionist perspective on this whole death thing. Don’t wait until you get sick to get well. More often than not people have to contract a terrible disease before they figure out that their body is the only one they’ve got and they need to take care of it. And more often than not, it’s too late at that point to do anything about it. Your body is an incredible thing but it’s only as strong as you make it. Don’t wait until yours is in a compromised position to try and get healthy.
And I’m not just talking about the foods you eat. Stress is a huge factor when it comes to disease. So many of my clients come to me with issues that they believe are all physical but stress is a huge component when it comes to their wellness.
The best part about all of this is that YOU control it! YOU steer your ship. YOU decide how you live your life. You are a compilation of a thousand little decisions you make each day. It’s the difference between getting a double-double or a green tea. Buying the 3000 sq. foot house that will stretch you to your limit but looks cool or the 2200 sq. foot home that is smaller allows for breathing room.
I also understand that some things are out of your control. Of course they are, and that is to be expected. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and we have to have our gloves ready it does. While I can’t help you with the unavoidable stresses of lost jobs or sick parents I can tell you that you can’t serve anyone from an empty cup. You cannot help take care of anyone if you don’t first take care of yourself. And while moving to Bali might not be in the cards, something as simple as getting up 10 minutes early to have tea in peace might be all you need to recharge your battery.
“What is your point, Stacey?” In a nutshell it is this: Death is coming knocking for all of us, folks. It is inevitable and certain. You can let this knowledge paralyze you with fear or let it propel you into greatness. You can live however you choose and I hope you choose to live big. Let go of the shit that doesn’t matter. What other people think of you is none of your business. Eat the foods that serve your body. Move your limbs and sweat everyday. Take the trip you’ve always wanted to. Live within your means but live fully. You can’t take any of it with you when you go but you can enjoy it while you’re here.
A cancer patient was once asked “What’s it like to know that you are dying?”
He replied, “What’s it like to pretend that you’re not?”
(featured image source: Newtown_Grafitti)