When people find out I was an EMT for 20 years, one of the first things I am always asked is, “What is the worst thing you have seen”.
The answer I give is not what people are expecting or looking for.
They are expecting to hear stories of blood and trauma, but traumatic injuries are not the worst thing I have seen on the job.
Of course I have seen my share of blood, trauma, and death.
I have memories I wish I didn’t have.
I have seen things I will never forget.
I have dreams that still haunt me.
Though, the worst thing I have seen, spanning the course of my career, is how fragile life is and how easily it can be taken from us.
This is also the greatest lesson I have taken away from my career, and it has given me a different perspective on things that others don’t always have.
This perspective has impacted the way I approach life, business, and relationships.
I see people everyday live their lives like they have time on their side.
They approach each day like they are invincible and nothing will ever happen to them.
I see people fight, argue, and hold grudges with friends and loved ones over the most trivial of things.
But the truth is, every time we kiss our loved ones goodbye, it may be the last time we ever see them.
This is a sad reality no one wants to think about, but having had to live that reality over and over again through others has shaped me and how I view my day to day relationships with people.
All too often I have seen people innocently driving wherever they were off to that day, hit by an initiative drive, distracted driver, or driver who was running late to be somewhere, having their life taken from them or changed forever because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I have seen seemingly healthy people fall victim to an acute heart attack or stroke, the youngest of which was only 32 years of age.
I have seen parents lose children, and children lose parents.
I have seen disease and illness ravage once healthy individuals to shells of their former selves in a matter of months.
I have seen enough pain, suffering, and sadness to last a lifetime.
Through these experiences, I have learned to not take life, or those we love, for granted.
Everything can change in the briefest of moments, and for many, it does.
So focus on what is truly important in life, and don’t let all those trivial things take over.
Cherish your relationships with friends and loved ones.
Experience this world and all the beauty it has to offer.
Love more, hate less, and learn to forgive and let go.