friend and I were in a situation where we may have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. We needed to get tested (again).
He was not worried about his results. What he was concerned about was whether he might have infected someone close to him, but what he said to me is worth sharing. In his mind, he shouldn’t be alive today. He was once in a terrible car accident and had been given a 5% chance of survival. From that day on, he calls his life the ‘bonus round.’ That statement hit me hard: When you have looked death in the eyes but come back to tell the story, your lens changes.
I’m sure it is different for everyone, but I understand how he feels. I once had to say my goodbyes. It was fast. No time to think, but I did have enough time to say, “this is it, game over,” followed by “Good luck, boys. Be good. Take care of your mother. I love you. B, I’m sorry. I love you.” Hard to describe the emotion of that moment. The moment you know you are going to die.
What if we all looked at our lives as a bonus round? An extra life. What if we looked at our lives as something that wasn’t supposed to happen and each moment, good or bad, is special. Here are a few of my thoughts on how I should live my bonus round.
MY BONUS ROUND RULES
- Be present; tomorrow might not happen
- Worry about who you have, not what you have
- Be honest with everyone, especially yourself, and take responsibility
- Leave people better than you found them, that’s why you exist, and you might not get another chance
- Don’t take things for granted, good or bad; they are special
- Be patient, focus on what you can control, and just do the next right thing
- Do work that matters
- Listen and try to understand, everyone is your teacher
- Be humble and be kind
- Don’t worry, be happy - Both of those are choices
I won’t claim to do all of these all of the time or even most of the time. I know it’s not a complete list, but it’s a start.
I am very public with my friends and colleagues that I am working hard on being patient (#6). I know that this year (and always) they need this from me. I think we all need it from each other right now—a little more patience. I am specifically working to ‘respond, not react.’ Sometimes with success, and sometimes I fail dramatically. The good news is each day I get start over and change what I need to change to become the person I want to become.
I better do everything I can do get it right today. No telling when this round will be over.