My philosophy for many years had been to make decisions based on faith and not on fear. I begin to question if that was how I was living my life.

Why am I doing this? Isn’t this financially irresponsible? After all, I’m not getting any younger.

It’s December 26, 2017 and I’m in the ER waiting for the doctor to tell me I can go home, take Tylenol, drink plenty of fluids and I’ll be fine. What I hear instead is “you could be dead in 3 days. You have liver failure, pneumonia, and there’s a spot on your lung that’s consistent with Lung Cancer.” Since my reaction to bad news is typically to argue against it, I looked at the doctor and said: “You must have my medical records mixed up with someone else’s. I’ve never had liver problems or smoked, and I’m sure I have the flu. Young doctor looked at me, shook his head and said, “we’re admitting you.”

It would be two months before the pneumonia cleared up enough for a scan to show that the spot on my lung was a granuloma and not Lung Cancer; and, for my liver numbers to get back to normal and confirm the problem with my liver was caused from taking too much Tylenol in too short a period from a combination of flu, cold, cough, and pain medicine. I now know too much Tylenol can kill you.

Two months is a long time to try your best not to imagine the worst. It’s also long enough to think about how you want to experience the future, if you have one.

I thought about choices I had made about how to live my life until that time in my life. My philosophy for many years had been to make decisions based on faith and not on fear. I begin to question if that was how I was living my life.

The moment I realized the ER doctor was talking about me and that I could be dead in 3 days, the thought that popped into my head was “I should have spent my money.” I had worked hard to save and make financially responsible choices because I was afraid of not having enough money to live on in my old, old, age. Now, I began to realize I might not have an old, old, age. “I could have taken a trip around the world with some of that money, I thought, now I never will.”

Fast forward 2 years into the future and here I am – cruising around the world for the next 4 months. Was the decision to do this a mistake? Will I run out of money in my old, old age? Maybe. All I know for sure is that while I’m living, I’m going to live. I will not let fear of what might happen keep me from exploring what could happen.

That’s how I want to experience life at this stage of my life, and that’s my answer to the question “why?”

What about you? How do you want to experience life at this stage of your life?

Something to think about.

This article was originally published at

Author's Bio: 

Rita is a Wife, Mother, Business Owner, Author, Professor of Business Transformation and Innovation, & a Thought Leader to Fortune 500 executives.

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Rita Burgett-Martell is the author of two books: Change Ready! and Defining Moments.
The practical guidance Rita provides is based on her thirty years of professional experience as an organizational change consultant to Fortune 500 clients and career coach to more than 11,000 individuals, plus her own experience of embracing the unknown to completely reinvent her own life from that of an 18-year-old uneducated housewife in Nashville, Tennessee to an international change strategist and thought leader to C-level and senior executives.