What does quality of life mean to you? Income, job, commute, happiness, pets, people, love? What if you had to restart your life over?
These questions are exactly what our first guest on the show had to answer. Michelle is currently a therapist in our local community, spends her weekends volunteering at a dog shelter, remains active in Donate Life Northwest, and most importantly is Charles’s beloved sister.
Michelle was struck by a sudden illness about 6 years ago that almost took her away from us and her loved ones when she was only 28. Today, we share one of our families biggest scares and dig deep into what is actually important in life.
Michelle was moved after our recording and wrote this piece below for us to share. Take a minute to give it a read to hear how one person defines quality of life.
Quality of Life
Quality of life…. We hear about this concept daily. Through social media, in conversations with friends or coworkers, yet how do we actually define what this means. What does this translate into real life practice.
I have been on a search to define “quality of life” for myself and over the past several weeks, even years, I’ve narrowed down what this means to me.
Quality of life is the ability to maximize the time spent in our everyday lives that fulfills our core values.
Ultimately, defining your core values comes first. For example, what drives you and brings you joy? Even pulling from the workbook from “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”, they ask clients to write their own eulogy in 2-3 sentences or less.
What do you want others to remember most about who you were in this life time. Discovering these truths about yourself will guide you on how to shape your quality of life. For example, I had a life threatening illness occur in my late 20’s that left me near dead. I was not supposed to make it out alive, let alone live to be a healthy woman today. I learned through this experience more than ever that all that really matters most to me is people…connections. Time spent with people I love…laughing, experiencing new places, foods, anything new and adventurous.
If I were to write my eulogy or tombstone it would say something like:
Here lies Michelle Drake
Passionate about people and animals, who brought everyone together to have fun and experience joy, laughter, and love.
So knowing at the core who and what you are, will help to bring awareness of the choices you make everyday. Do an honest inventory of everyday tasks you complete. What is necessary and unavoidable, like cleaning, picking up dog poop, etc. What brings you joy or makes you really smile or feel alive? This isn’t a judgement of where we are, it’s an inventory of what we do now so we can tweak it enough to feel a true sense of fulfillment…..quality of life.
Thanks again to Michelle for coming on the Podcast and sharing this beautifully written piece.
If you were interested in Michelle’s story, Bethany put together a book that documented the transplant journey and shows the actually transplant taking place. You can find it here.
Some of the items we go over in this episode.
- What does quality of life mean
- Job satisfaction
- Income disparity and the effect
- Establishing real human connection
- How your perspective changes when you come close to death
- What it’s like for family when going through a traumatic time
- The beauty of living a normal life
- Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown (affiliate link)
- K is for Kidney by Bethany Mccamish
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