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We’re Only Guaranteed Today, So Stop Waiting for Tomorrow

Woman Running

“If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you’d want to have spent it? Listen, the truth is, nothing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody. So don’t be afraid. Be alive.” ~Sarah Dessen

Sometimes it takes a traumatic experience to make us face our fears and start living the life we truly desire.

I spent many years letting fear hold me back from pursuing my dreams. I was afraid that I would not be good enough, strong enough, or smart enough to accomplish the big goals I had for myself. I didn’t think I was special and I definitely didn’t think I deserved to be successful.

The day that all changed was the day my father nearly died of a heart attack. I didn’t know it at the time and I never imagined anything good would come from that experience, but to say that day dramatically changed my life would be an understatement.

That day, we were told my father had about a 1 percent chance of living and if he did, he would likely have brain damage.

The weeks that followed led my family and me on an emotional roller coaster. My dad slowly improved, but his memory was lacking. It was devastating to us when he couldn’t remember the Disney vacation we just went on or that he had a seven-month-old grandson.

By some miracle, my father made a full recovery and is back to his old self. It was impossible to imagine that he could ever recover from the state he was in on that very first day in the hospital. Seeing the transformation in my father over those few weeks truly opened my eyes to what is possible in this life. 

I did a lot of thinking in those few weeks while my dad was recovering. I decided I needed to stop letting fear get the best of me and start taking action toward my goals each day.

In just eight months after my father’s heart attack, I have traveled solo (which was completely outside of my comfort zone), enrolled in a health coaching course, enrolled back in college to finally finish my bachelor’s degree, quit my job, and started my health coaching business.

I’m now the happiest I’ve ever been. I get to spend more time with my kids and I get to do things that truly make happy each day. I am helping people transform their lives by prioritizing their health. I have less stress and anxiety and way more energy than I’ve ever had before.

The experience of almost losing my father taught me valuable lessons that have helped me transform my life, and I hope that by sharing them they will inspire you to do the same.

Cherish Your Loved Ones

At the end of the day, if I had nothing else in my life but the people I loved most, I would be content and happy. Your loved ones are there for you during the good and the bad times. They are often your cheerleaders and support system, and their love is unconditional.

Prior to my father’s heart attack, I often let work and my busy life get in the way of prioritizing time for those that mattered most. It was common for me to go weeks without speaking to my sister, months without seeing my best friend, and I even lost touch with some of my closest friends.

When I was told that I may possibly lose my father, all I could think about was that I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks and that I would give anything to talk to him again.

It’s so important to cherish your loved ones and make the time for them because when they are no longer around you will wish you had one more moment to spend with them.

Too often, we get busy in life and forget about the importance of staying connected to those we love most. Call your mom, visit your friend, and make the most of the short time you have on this planet before it’s too late.

Prioritize Your Health  

If you want to live a long and healthy life, you must start prioritizing your health. I truly believe anything you want in life is possible as long as you have your health.

I’ve been health conscious for many years now, but it wasn’t until my father nearly died from a heart attack, a disease that is highly preventable through a healthy diet and lifestyle, that I actually experienced what can happen if you don’t take care of your health and body.

This made me realize that I needed to share my knowledge and passion for health with as many people as possible to hopefully prevent someone from going through a similar situation as my father.

It’s time to stop with all of the excuses of why it’s too hard or there’s not enough time to eat healthy or exercise. Trust me, nothing else will matter if you get sick or pass away tomorrow because you didn’t make an effort to be as healthy as possible today.

Stop Taking Everything So Seriously  

Too often we get caught up focusing on all of the little problems and challenges we face on a daily basis. We stress and worry about things that we have no control over. We obsess over our flaws or mistakes and waste time trying to fix them.

For years, I’ve worried and stressed over the little things in life. I stressed over the little mistakes I made at work, not being the “perfect” parent, or not being thin enough. I was a people pleaser, extremely self-conscious, and avoided any uncomfortable situations. My feelings were easily hurt and I simply took everything way too seriously.

The truth is, when you are faced with life or death, these so-called issues do not seem to matter at all. You will not care if you missed that deadline or what that stranger thinks of you. These challenges and insecurities are a part of life, but do not need to take over your life.

Life is Too Short

The harsh reality is that before you know it your life will be over. We are only ever guaranteed today, so stop waiting for tomorrow.

If you want to quit your job, make a plan and do it. If you want to find your soul mate, then put yourself out there and find him/her. It took my father’s near death experience to wake me up and realize that I needed to make a change in my life. Don’t wait for a tragedy to happen before you get your act together.

You Are Enough

I let fear and self-doubt hold me back for years, and I know I’m not alone. We all struggle with fear, self-doubt, and shame and we allow it to take over our lives. Successful and happy people are the ones who experience these feelings, but follow their desires anyway.

Whether you believe it or not, you are enough and you deserve to be happy. It has taken me a while to come to terms with this and I still work at it every day, but I now know that I am enough… and so are you.

Woman running image via Shutterstock

About Kati O'Brien

Kati O’Brien is a certified health and wellness coach and founder of katiobrien.com. She helps mothers nourish their mind and body, make peace with food, and start living the life they truly crave. Tired of your food cravings controlling your life? Download your “Must Have Guide to Satisfy Your Cravings & Embrace Your True Desires.”

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  • Peace Within

    I am so happy for you Kati. You took a negative situation and turned it into so many positives. I am glad your dad is doing better. You are right. When you go through something so real you realize what matters and what doesn’t. Personally, I started seeing things a lot more clearly. Take care!

  • Kati O’Brien

    Yes, it always help to see things a lot more clearly! Thank you so much for your comment xoxo

  • gary lockhart

    What a great read life is to short.
    death is not the greatest loss in life the greatest loss is what dies inside while we are still alive.

  • Kati O’Brien

    Ooh that is so true <3

  • Great read! I’ve been trying to work on the “Stop taking everything so seriously” part. When stressful things happen, I smile to myself and shake them off. Anger is a waste of time, energy and emotional well being.

  • Dee

    Well said!

    I went through the same with my father with colon cancer, it was the moment of truth for me that nothing is permanent and it is too small to take things for granted. He is still recovering but life for him is short. For me, it changed my life completely. Now i give more importance to my close ones than my work.

  • Great reminder and message Kati. Why do we put off all the things that truly matter and focus on the day to day stuff that we do out of default? We continue to push our priorities til later and later in our life and as you point out, later may never come. Great to hear all the changes you’re making in your life and what inspired you to get started on them.

  • Kati O’Brien

    Yes, it’s a constant struggle, but I always try to remind myself not to sweat the small things in life. Thanks for your comment!!

  • Kati O’Brien

    That’s awesome that it’s changed your life in a positive way! It’s unfortunate that things like that have to happen to wake us up, but hopefully, we can all learn something and keep working at improving our lives and living for today!

  • Kati O’Brien

    Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It is so true. We need to just focus on what really matters and do what we love in the small amount of time that we have. We all know time goes by way too quickly!!!

  • Such a wonderful reminder that life is precious and we must make the most of it! Thanks Kati for sharing your story!! <3

  • Joshua Breeze

    We should live in the moment and not wait for the future; great article!
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Thanks for sharing your story with us. Illness is a good thing, for it reminds us that our bodies are at ill-ease with our environment and our life’s situation. It’s times like these (and times when I feel stressed from work) that I believe we should look within ourselves and ask what we really want.

  • mindfulmole

    Hey Kati, thanks for this insightful post. It’s great that your dad is doing well now. I find it really difficult to live in the now, i’m constantly looking towards the future / the past. But your story has inspired me to see what really matters … which is right now. 🙂