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How young people with cancer have taught me to live life to the fullest

In 2014 I’ve set up my charity to support young people with cancer. I was moved by the stories I’ve read of teenagers and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis at such a sensitive age and I wanted to do something for them. Little did I know, they would be the ones to do so […]

In 2014 I’ve set up my charity to support young people with cancer. I was moved by the stories I’ve read of teenagers and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis at such a sensitive age and I wanted to do something for them. Little did I know, they would be the ones to do so much for me.

Like most people prior to 2014 I had a regular life. I was in my late twenties, I did different jobs, I dreamt of becoming famous, I would have loved to travel more… I simply coasted along life always telling myself: “When I will be rich… when I will live abroad… when I will work in movies… when I will forget how my small native village looks like… then I will be happy”. That is complete nonsense.

We can choose when to be happy, and how. We can set our own standards for happines. We may be tricked into thinking that to be happy you have to have a lot of material things, but that is not true at all. I’ve met people in life- threating situations, they had almost nothing, they could even lose their lives, yet they smiled and were at peace.

So here it is a quick list of 3 things young people with cancer have taught me that lead me to live my life to the fullest:

  1. Live in the here and now. We often think about what we will do tomorrow, in a month or even in a year, but tomorrow is not granted for anyone. The next minute is not granted. So let’s forget the past (can’t change it) and the future (is not here yet). Focussing on the present, meaning this actual instant, will lead you to be completely aware of yourself and your surroundings.
  2. Be true to yourself. From the moment we open our eyes as newborns, people and society stick various labels on us. Our parents have ideas and dreams for us. The place we were born and where we live, as well as our family’s situation, can determine our future. The expectations of society can add to this burden. Most people don’t even realize they go from one day to the other basically doing what others expect them to do, taking the easiest way, but that is not the healthiest one and above all it’s not the only one. Learn to delve into yourself, to listen to your own dreams, needs and body ( you probably have some kind of anxiety symptom if you are forcing yourself to be who you are not). Discover your true self and then embrace it. Being who you really are will allow you to live life to the fullest.
  3. Remember you have to die. Like most of you (or maybe all of you) prior to 2014 I was afraid of dying. It’s not that now I wish to die. Not at all. I simply know death is a part of life, as weird as it may sound. Death will take everyone. There is no point in pretending to be immortal. Once you aknowledge that death is inevitable and most of the times unpredictable, you realize the importance of the two points I’ve written before: the here and now + being true to yourself. This allows you to live a honest life and to be aware of the present moment. You then must choose what really matters to you. Personally, I’ve discovered that helping others and donating in any way we personally can is the key to lead a happy and fullfilled life so that, when death will actually come, you will welcome it with a smile because you will know you have lived the best, fullest life you could have lived.
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