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Live Like You’re Dying

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I had an amazing layover. There’s a sentence you almost never hear or see. Certainly not one I expected to be saying, but those are exactly the words I used to describe my recent layover.

I’ve been traveling a bit lately, and after a horrendous layover in Dallas, I went out of my way to make sure the next trip didn’t go near there; instead I found myself with 3.5 hours to kill in Denver. After grabbing some lunch and walking around a bit I found my way to a little Mexican restaurant and bar. I grabbed the next to the last seat at the bar (the one almost right behind the taps that no one really wants) and ordered a drink. I shared a little small talk with the lady next to me, but overall things were quiet… until Trudy arrived.

I didn’t know her name right away, but the bartender definitely seemed to know her. Trudy took the last seat (the one next to me directly behind the taps). She wore a pink shirt and an amazing smile and attitude. It turned out that the bartender knew her because Trudy had spent the entire previous day there waiting on a flight that kept getting delayed. And, here she was back again with a smile on her face?!

I honestly couldn’t imagine how she could be smiling after two days in the airport, but then I learned her story, and I’m so glad that I did. Trudy has spent the whole previous day in the airport. Her flight had finally departed at 9 p.m. the previous night, but she gave her seat up at the last minute to a mother who was crying about getting home to her child. I’d like to believe I’d have done the same. The airline was nice enough to put her up for the night, where she then proceeded to make new friends at the hotel bar and had an amazing time. It was quite obvious that Trudy would make new friends anywhere she went.

In the course of the initial conversation, she made a comment about going home for medical treatment. The pink shirt and the band on her arm has me thinking cancer, but at the same time thinking “certainly not.” But, yes, Trudy has cancer. It started as Breast Cancer and then spread. I don’t know if it’s terminal, but I got the impression that it might be. What was much clearer was her love of life, her smile, and her attitude. This is one amazing woman that I am so happy to have met.

Trudy made the comment several times that she’s “living like she’s dying.” And it was obvious that she is. She’s making the most of every single moment. She’s planning her wedding, spending time with her children and traveling. A couple of times as we talked, tears came to her eyes and to mine. How could they not! But most of our conversation was spent with smiles on our faces, as she showed me pictures of her grandchild, a recent concert she attended, and her fiancé.

Trudy is living life to the fullest. She’s no longer taking things for granted, or passing opportunities. She’s saying “YES” to life.

Trudy was a great reminder for me of something that I’ve already been working on, the idea that I can’t let life pass me by. I’ve got to say yes to opportunities. Instead of thinking about all the reasons things won’t work or coming up with reasons to say no, I have to look for all the reasons to say yes. I’ve got to focus on all the things I can do and do them, because I honestly don’t know when the time may come that saying yes just won’t be a choice.

Saying yes to things is how I ended up on that trip to LA to meet with a pharmaceutical company. A trip I almost said no to because of the horrible layover I’d had just a week prior. I worried that it would wear me out and the after effects wouldn’t be worth the trip, but quite honestly just meeting Trudy made that trip so worthwhile. I will continue to hang onto these reminders to live like I’m dying, because I am. We all are, we just don’t know when.

Julie Ryan, a regular contributor to ProHealth, is a fellow Fibromyalgia Warrior, freelance writer, and blogger. In addition to Fibromyalgia, Julie is currently diagnosed with Endometriosis, Migraines, Cluster Headaches, and Hypothyroid. She shares her journey, along with inspiration, and information on her blog at

You can follow Julie on Twitter and Facebook.

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