Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: YOUTH (04/04/19)
- TITLE: Preface
By Leah Nichols
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You’re looking for inspiration. And this one will give you loads of it, so you think. Let’s be real; no one wants to read a memoir about a 20-year-old American girl in 2019, right? Every other Instagram account pretty much covers everything you’d expect from any normal person of that demographic.
Except you know my life isn’t normal. Born with a terminal diagnosis that guarantees I’ll have a shortened lifespan, you think I have some great words of wisdom packed into this autobiography which will inspire you to take advantage of the time you have remaining on this earth.
I’ll be blunt, then: take advantage of the time you have remaining on this earth.
Two things I hate: pity, and people who think they know something when they DON’T HAVE A CLUE.
When I’m chillin’ in my hospital room for the normal 10-day course of IV antibiotics and every four hours of respiratory therapy treatments, and a new clinician comes in (namely, someone who hasn’t worked with me before), I get super annoyed when they have THAT LOOK. That look which says they pity me and all I’m having to go through. Sure, I didn’t choose this, and I sure lost the genetic lottery when my parents got together, but this is my life, okay? I don’t know anything different. I don’t feel sorry for myself most of the time, and you shouldn’t either. Give me hope, not pity.
Then, there’s the times when I look mostly normal, and I don’t need oxygen, and my port is buried under my shirt, and I look just like any other teenager (I only turned 20 a few months ago, and I’m small for my age, so everyone guesses I’m 14- or 15-years-old), and I’m hanging with my friends, and some idiot adult blathers on about how much time we all have to do whatever, because we’re YOUNG. No, we don’t. And neither do you, if you think for two seconds about it.
You could die tomorrow, even if I’m still alive at the time you’re reading this. No one knows when their time to go will come. Why do only the people who have death obviously hanging over their heads have the responsibility to think about the value of every day? It’s been spoken of, written about, movies made, etc. forever, ever since people had the realization that life is short and uncertain.
Here’s the conclusion of my book before you have to read it all the way through: live every day and be satisfied with yourself. If you’re not satisfied with your life, why, and what can you do to change it?
It isn’t fair that I’m going to die sooner than 99% of my peers, and I get frustrated about that like every day. But I’m not going to waste the last few days, months, or if I’m lucky, years, freaking out about the unfairness of life or whose fault it is that I suffer.
If by some miracle I end up doing something amazing that impacts the world, maybe I won’t be as obscure as I imagine. But I pretty much expect that I’ll die like most cystic fibrosis people - loved only by those who know me, and remembered only by the words I’ve said, or now, in this case, written. This isn’t a great life-changing read, but it’s an honest one.
They say wisdom comes with age, yet they expect those of us with a shortened youth to also have found it. Perhaps it’s because I’m at the end of my life that somehow I’ve found the meaning of it all.
So there’s your inspiration, if you’re indeed looking for something to pull from this memoir. Imagine you’re at the end, no matter how much time you’ve already had.
I’m just finishing this book, after I write the dedication and send it off to my editor. If today’s the last day for me, I’m satisfied with what I’ve done here, and I hope it’s just a real reflection of my life.
20 years old
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