Do Not Not Do™ ~ My Afterlife Series
By Susan Keats, Contributor & Seize-the-Day Propagandist
A few years ago I had the luxury of reevaluating myself and my life. In some ways I would say I am lucky that I had the opportunity to do such a thing because as we all propel ourselves through our lives, we don’t always take the time to stop and think, observe, evaluate. In my case, my improved self-awareness was foisted on me through a breast cancer diagnosis.
In my year of living cancerously, I spent a lot of time in bed. Often I felt sorry for myself. Many times I contemplated and accepted my own fragility and the fine line we all walk daily between this life and whatever comes next. Hopefully there is something next, but just in case, I emerged from that time with a clear understanding that living my life as fully as I can is what I must do to feel comfortable again about living. Otherwise, the focus is on dying and I just can’t go there.
So, I coined a phrase and this is my mantra: Do not not do.
My mantra comes to me daily in the moments when some opportunity or another presents itself. I always find myself hesitating, teetering on the edge of old complacent habits that whisper to me, encouraging me to stick to an old and comfortable routine. But whatever it is that is laid out before me is rarely anything to be worried about.
I can honestly say that there are some things that I will absolutely never do. Sky diving comes to mind. In that regard, my existence has already been threatened once, I don’t have the need to explore additional ways to bring more fear into my life.
Instead, “Do not not do” more frequently nudges me toward the most simple and wonderful things.
One evening last winter, I watched as a significant snowfall began accumulating outside my window. It was 10:00pm, a school night, and bed time. The snow was beautiful, but my thoughts were less about appreciating the beauty and more along the lines of “Ugh. What if there’s no school tomorrow?”
My daughter was looking out the same window with me and with an exuberance that I was not feeling, she announced, “Let’s make a snow man!”
“No, it’s time for bed. It is too late for snow men.” I said in my stern, responsible-mom voice.
“C’mon,” she complained, “we NEVER do anything crazy or spontaneous.”
Ouch. Maybe she just knows the right way to push my buttons, but I took her statement to heart. Was she right? Am I NEVER spontaneous? Why is it that we all look back on our sillier days with wistfulness, as if we can’t recapture those magical moments? Why would we EVER consider them to
Where’s the gal who went sledding on “borrowed” cafeteria trays or who sat up all night with friends just to see the sun rise? At what point did I start
making excuses to NOT do things? Why is the voice in my head insisting “but I’ll be tired in the morning,” or “well, that’s just not responsible.”
A moment later we were looking for snow boots, waterproof gloves, hats, snow pants, and out we went into the night to build a late night snowman.
It turned into an invigorating, joyful and a treasured moment with my daughter that I will always happily recall.
Do not not do.
Without that phrase, there are a lot of things I might talk myself out of. But for a life worth living, I keep it close to my heart at all times.
In this spirit, when opportunities come up for any of us, we should all whisper “Do not not do” to ourselves. Try it on, see how it makes you feel. It doesn’t have to lead you to crazy and dangerous things, but it just might take you on an unanticipated new adventure. Maybe a spontaneous moment that you’ll never regret.
Do not not do™ brand clothing and other items will be available soon. We all need those daily reminders. Stay tuned!
Susan Keats ~ In 2010 Susan received life-changing news after a routine mammogram. She had breast cancer. After plenty of tears, anxiety and soul searching, she finished treatments and is now entering a year of renewal, growth, and recovery. Susan hopes that those who are just stepping into the experience of illnesses or crises will find the same comfort and inspiration that she felt when others shared their experiences and wisdom with her. She is looking forward to rediscovering parts of herself that she had allowed to fall away. This is going to be a great year!