Carpe Diem…

an exclusive feature from Bonnie Compton*

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on where have all my years gone? They say that time moves faster the older you get. I never really believed that until I started getting older! I’m acutely aware that I have fewer years ahead of me than behind me and I want to savor every moment. How do I want to be and what do I want to do with my “one wild and precious life” as expressed by the poet Mary Oliver.

What motivates me in terms of living my best life? What is my why? Abraham Maslow theorized, in his “hierarchy of needs” model that humans are motivated by five basic needs- physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization.

The highest need is self-actualization. Self-actualization is the associated feeling that you are living up to your potential.  Although I learned this many years ago in nursing school, I’m now leaning into my self-actualization phase big time!  My girlfriends often comment how I live my life with intention (I try to) and that I’m always challenging myself to learn a new skill or stretch myself. I believe that our time on this earth is precious, so why waste it?

Also, over the past five years I’ve become much more curious about death, or my own transition from earth.  My interest in “death”, although it may seem a morbid fascination, actually inspires me to “live” more consciously.  I’ve been a volunteer on the pediatric palliative medicine team at our local university hospital.  My experience has led me to want to help families create the best death possible for their loved one.  I believe there is such a thing as a “good death”.  Although not many like to talk about death, we’re going to die, right? So why not plan for it! Many create a “birth plan” for the arrival of their new baby.  So why do we not do the same for our end of life?

Following my intuition, I enrolled in the End of Life Doula program at the Conscious Dying Institute in Boulder, CO.  My plan is to coach families in their wishes and plans for end of life of their loved one.

Best laid plans don’t always go according to plan though! Although I’m halfway through the program and planned to attend the first in-person weekend in Boulder, the outbreak of the Coronavirus created other plans. ‘Life happens when you’re busy making other plans,’ according to the late John Lennon…so true!

What plans are you making for your “one wild and precious life”? What regrets might you have if you don’t?

According to Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, the top regret is wishing they had done things they wanted to do instead of living their life for others.

Maybe you too have been feeling an intuitive nudge to try something new…to spread your wings…to reach your own potential.  I say JUST DO IT! What do you have to lose? You might just have everything to gain!

If you’ve wanted to make positive changes in your life, but haven’t…I’d ask what’s stopping you? Do you find yourself feeling scared or not good enough? I promise you when you step into and through your fear, that is when you really begin to live your life.  You’ll get to know a version of yourself you never knew before.

I know had I not stepped into and through my fear of writing, my book Mothering with Courage would never have been written.  Had I listened to my fear of public speaking, I never would have hosted the podcast radio show Wholehearted Parenting Radio.  I finally decided that my message was greater than my fear.  And so I took one step at a time…sometimes small baby steps…and I kept going.

Life is precious and short.  We’re all scared at times.  We don’t like to feel vulnerable.  According to Brene Brown…

Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

I choose vulnerability over playing it safe.

How about you? What are you waiting for?

Just go and do it!



*Carpe Diem, is an exclusive feature for by Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP. Bonnie has worked with families for more than thirty years as a child and adolescent therapist, parent coach, and pediatric nurse practitioner and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families. In doing so, Bonnie helps parents and grandparents create healthy boundaries and relationships. She is a writer, speaker, workshop and retreat facilitator, and hosted her own podcast radio program, Wholehearted Parenting Radio, which is available on iTunes, Web Talk Radio, Radioactive Broadcasting Network, and Stitcher Radio. Bonnie lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband. She is a mom of four adult children and believes that being a mother has been her most important job; and loves being Gramma to her four beautiful granddaughters. Bonnie is also the author of Mothering with CourageAvailable here!, and also has an online course Messages We Send Our Children Daily OM

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