I was on NPR’s web site this morning when I came across a storycorps article about Grant Coursey, a 12 year old who, at only 16 months old, was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma. After a few years of treatment and monitoring, he’s now cancer-free and has an awesome outlook on life:
“You know, life is really good,” Grant says. “And there’s this saying that says if you’ve been close to death, you understand life more. And sometimes I think of that, and I think, you know, if this had never happened to me, I never would have understood how much life means, kinda. You know? What if I had died? I’d never have this amazing life.”
Grant’s perspective is simple but inspiring. It reminds me to be thankful for life, even the bad parts of it. Because it’s pretty amazing to be alive.
Speaking of realizing how amazing life is, there’s this blog I follow called Semi-Rad. The writer, Brendan, is a recovering alcoholic who loves the outdoors and has an insatiable taste for adventure. He had a wonderful post a few weeks back, right around the beginning of the new year, that motivates me to be a maximum enthusiast.
“Sometimes I get to do awesome things, and I kind of forget how awesome they are. Do you? I get stressed, caught up in other stuff, and I forget how fortunate I am, how incredible life has turned out to be most days, and some of the special places I’ve gotten to see. Most of the time, though, I try to keep a pretty good handle on it — try to remember to turn around and yell to my friend that yes, we are running across the most famous hole on Earth, and that’s pretty special.”
I think that the daily grind can wear at most folks. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I forget to stop and think about how good I have it sometimes. But when I think of Grant, Brendan, and a lot of other people who have taken on really difficult situations and turned them into something way more positive, well, that makes me realize a few things: first, that I’m lucky. Second, to never give up when I’m in the midst of struggling.
And third, to just keep on climbing.
I mean that last point metaphorically, but in a few months, those words will be serve as a mantra for me to keep climbing the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Good thing I have plenty of people supporting me to help me follow through with those words along the way.