In 2011, I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Liberia, West Africa. Peace Corps is a government program that sends Americans overseas on two-year assignments to live and work in communities around the world. (Life Magnanimous is my blog about that part of my life.) I was searching for adventure, but also trying to make meaning of my one precious trip on this planet. In 2004 my younger brother died suddenly after being hit by a car. He was 18 and I was just two years older. While most 20-somethings were applying to graduate school and starting careers, I was trying to make up for lost time… time I’d spent playing it safe and following all the rules.
My own mortality was a constant shadow in the corner whispering live, live, live NOW. I responded by losing 130 pounds, quitting my job, ending an engagement, and moving to Liberia. I’d never been out of the country so it was ballsy and brave and as close as I could get to jumping off a cliff without really doing it.
Nothing about Liberia made sense, but everything felt right, most of all the song blaring out the window of every taxi and from the radio on every porch. Demarco’s Love My Life was a constant celebration of life and reminder to squeeze it for every last drop – I did then and I still do today. Even now, I play Love My Life regularly to remind myself to be present and grateful for what I have, which is the daily opportunity to make different choices and show up for myself.
This is underscored by the video. It starts with a man in a hospital bed battling for his life. When Love My Life comes on the radio, he gets up and, still wearing his hospital gown, walks back in time through the day. He finally climbs the stairs to his bedroom and sees himself sitting on the bed contemplating suicide. As if visited by his own shadow of mortality, he puts down the bottle of pills and hugs his wife instead.
As lipedema women, we often focus on the past – when things were better – or the future – when we think things will be worse. The truth, however, is that all we have for certain is the present. What can you do today that your future self will be grateful for? What small thing can you do to celebrate your one precious life and feel more alive? It could be pressing play on Love My Life and dancing with yourself, going for a walk in the sun, or putting on your favorite outfit while working from home. You don’t have to move halfway around the world to love your life or to live it to the fullest. Each day is a fresh opportunity to unlock the magic that’s inside you. Sturdy readers, today is your day.
None of us know what tomorrow may bringDemarco, “Love My Life”
Because the future is hours away
So I’m going to live my life today
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