A few weeks ago I read an incredibly powerful post by Holly Butcher. Her words have had a massive impact on me and so many others.
Holly wrote it shortly before she died on January 4, 2018, at the age of 27.
Holly was diagnosed with stage 4 Ewing sarcoma in October 2016. This is a rare, but aggressive form of cancer that affects the bones.
Prior to the diagnosis she was a happy and healthy woman in her 20s. She had a boyfriend and a dog. She was a dietitian and did everything “right” when it came to taking care of her body.
And while her diagnosis was devastating, it also brought her amazing insight. She understood something that is already true for all us, we just tend to forget. Time on this earth is precious. Our time here could be long, or it could suddenly be cut short.
But the quality of our life, and what we decide to focus on, that is completely up to us.
So many lines in her post gave me goosebumps and pause.
I generally consider myself someone who is grateful and focused on joy. But I also find myself picking my body apart in the full-length mirror more times than I’d like to count. I try to not equated my self-worth with the number on the bathroom scale, but it definitely happens more than I’d like to admit.
Holly’s thoughts on that: “Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole.”
And for all those times you wonder how you could have messed something up so bad, or when you are totally stressed about the future, her words put it all in perspective.
“I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.”
Other nuggets of wisdom from Holly Butcher’s that I just love:
- Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself.
- Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.
- Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.
- Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.
- Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy.
- Cuddle your dog.
- Work to live, don’t live to work.
- Eat the cake. Zero guilt.
- Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.
- Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.
But greater than all these beautiful thoughts, this one is absolutely my favorite:
“Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.”
Holly was spot on. No one is going to make you happy. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be miserable. You can choose worry or you can choose joy.
But spending your precious days on this earth chained to negative thoughts, or self-imposed rules, or even mindless worry, that is such a waste.
I believe Holly is in a better place. And I believe we can all make our lives better thanks to her message.