You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of f*cks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a f*ck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get f*cked.
― Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Something happens when your life falls apart—when you lose your health, marriage, best friend, partner, family, friends, and everything you have ever known in the span of one year.
You start seeing what is truly important in life.
No, It's not the way the man at 7-11 looked at you when you bought 10 bags of hot Cheetoes to eat while binge watching Stranger Things.
And no, it's not how that person cut you off as you were making that final left turn home.
It's not whether you are able to purchase the latest pair of Tory Burch shoes to match your handbag and earrings (also coincidentally Tory Burch).
Or whether you received that prestigious academic fellowship that everyone else wants.
No, after losing J, for the first time in my life, I saw the truth: that what is important is love. Giving it, expressing it, receiving it, growing in it.
The meaning of life is to love.
And time. I realized how little of my life I had been truly present for.
Life is short.
I have wanted to write books since I was 6 years old, even before I knew how to write.
My first book was approximately 9 pages long. It was about a princess who lived in a castle. She laid in bed. She combed her hair. Her comb was pretty. She got back in bed. She fell asleep. (This was the extent of the story).
I proudly illustrated each of the pages with my trusty #2 pencil, placing them into what I felt at the time were extremely very fancy paper protective sheets.
The teacher read my story in front of my entire first grade class with great excitement and fanfare ("Eleora wrote a book! Let's read it!").
I will never forget the puzzled look on her face as she turned to the last page of the story and realized that all that had happened in the entirety of the story was just a lot of hair brushing and sleeping.
Despite this first failed attempt, I persisted.
I wrote in journals. I started a blog. I wrote for my high school friends. I made online friends. I even met my future husband (now ex) this way.
By the time I was 18, I knew that I wanted to write books. I felt that it was what I was meant to do with my life. And yet, fear began to set in as I navigated my freshman year of college: I wondered how I would make a living. I wondered if I was good enough. I wondered what people would think.
I stopped writing.
And the trouble was, that this feeling never really went away. In fact, it continued on throughout my twenties and graduate school. But what would other scientists think if I were to leave graduate school and become a writer by day-Starbucks barista/yoga instructor by night instead? I kept telling myself that one day I would write again. There was always something—a degree to finish, a job to apply for. Maybe after I retired then, I told myself.
The beauty of loss is that it took all these concerns and set them ablaze.
Now, I could give two f*cks what anyone thinks of what and whether I write.
I am writing anyway.
This is how writing my soon to be released self-help book, Grieving the Loss of a Love: How to Embrace Grief to Find True Hope and Healing After a Divorce, Breakup, or Death came to be.
After this year of loss, with an understanding of how short life is and how fleeting and unforgiving it can be, I asked myself:
If not now, then when?