Living in Bali, Indonesia is possibly one of the most amazing [yet insane and a little scary] things I’ve ever done. I am so grateful to have such beautiful memories to look back upon. Recently, I was asked what I think my purpose is (this was a conversation mainly aimed towards my blog and social media), but after I was asked this question once, it seemed to come up constantly. I think attending events like DDW and the IBD Social Circle has really helped me to define it more. — And honestly, in a way, define myself.
The truth is: I don’t know.
I don’t know. Anything. I thought I had all of the answers. I thought I knew exactly what it is that I wanted out of life. If you asked me my five year plan, five years ago you would have gotten a cookie-cutter answer. So precise you’d likely question yourself if it were real or not… And it wouldn’t be. I’d tell you one thing, but in my mind, have an entirely different lifestyle cooking up. – That’s the people pleaser side of me. — Or was.
These experiences have truly brought out the best and worst of me, but I am happy to say I am no longer that version of Shawn. I care what people think of me, as we all do…. But not enough to create an entire lifestyle to please them.
But I do know this:
One thing I was able to identify [in this long-shot attempt to define myself and my purpose online and off] is my greater understanding and appreciation of time. As I get older, my view of time is constantly changing. Before I was diagnosed, I saw it as something I was running out of. I knew my time on this Earth was limited, yet was unable to do anything about it. Post-diagnosis, moving into my “still sick, but at least I know what it is” days, I saw time as something I needed to rush through. Whether it was feeling the need to get married and have kids before my “time runs out” [ – whatever that means!] Or my rush drives home after a long day, praying I didn’t get sick along the way. It wasn’t until my early-mid 20s’ that I began to disregard time completely. Days at work quickly turned into days in the hospital or bed-bound after surgery. Summers at the pool quickly turned into restrictions and fresh scars from ostomy reversals or fissures. And after surgery time simply began to move so fast, yet so slow all at once. — This was when I began to realize the true value of the thing.
I say all of that to say this:
We spend so much time, throwing away time. Selling it Investing it in people that don’t care or companies that never really did. We take it for granted, yet pray for more when we’re running out. Time is one of the most precious gifts life has to offer. You will make and lose money; it can be replaced. – The same is true for friends and a lot of other things in life, but time is the one thing you will possibly never get back. So here’s a little bit of my purpose:
As someone who has lost so much time [to various things: an autoimmune disease, family illness, unfortunate circumstances, ect.], I’m making it my mission to take advantage of every second I have left. To place more value in experiences than money and truly live instead of just surviving. It is also my mission to show others the importance of taking full advantage of the time we are given AND, if they cannot [as I was once unable] my mission is to show them the true beauty of life and what the world has to offer.
Like I said, I don’t have it all figured out, but I am learning and trying to live life with appreciation and gratitude.
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