A Moment of Pause

Another loss to cancer today… Jason Jue​ and I became friends through serving together on our high school’s yearbook staff.  Even back then, he had one of the most joyful spirits, always with a smile, and a spring in his step.  I remember this one day, he and I brought sushi back from the grocery store for lunch and somehow convinced the Photo Editor that the wasabi was green tea ice cream.  He put the whole thing in his mouth, and well, you can guess what happened next.  Pure laughter for the next 15 minutes.

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Yearbook trip to New York in April 1994. Jason sitting next to me in the back.

He was someone who chased after his passions of photography and scuba diving more than anyone I can think of. Foregoing a traditional desk job, he spent most of his time on the beaches of the Philippines shooting and diving…  a few of his shots below.

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It looks like he started feeling sick around mid-February, starting with gout, and then pneumonia.  He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the end of March and returned to Los Angeles for treatment.  It looks as though after the first round of chemo, his immune system could not fight off the infection that caused his death.

Six weeks.  Wow.

This is the second death in 2015 that has given me a moment of pause… Both men died of cancer in their late thirties.  There’s no reason that this couldn’t be me.

So many questions flush through my mind as I think about the immediacy of the situation.  Am I doing what I love and pursuing my passion? Am I living well?  Do I spend time with the people I love and who love me?  Am I making the most of the opportunities I’ve been given?

As I’ve been coaching individuals around achieving their dreams, one of the things that I ask my clients to do is to create a very clear and detailed picture of their future.  It’s an exercise that can take some energy, as many of us are so occupied by the busyness of our lives, that it’s hard for us to stop, and take a moment to process.

On this journey called life, we’re all going to end up somewhere…  some people simply have taken the time to think through what they want THERE to look like.  For those who haven’t thought this through, you’ll end up in a place too, but it’s hard to say whether or not you chose to be there, or whether you simply just let life take you where it did.

We all have wants and desires… whether or not we make those known, or pursue them with our full effort is a different story.  Don’t you want to end up where you want to be?  Rather than attaching yourself to someone else’s dream?   Every so often, you do a check-in against that dream.  Maybe you recalibrate, or switch direction… but at least that marker is out there, serving as a beacon leading you forward.

Isn’t today a good day to take a moment of pause for yourself?  Pull out that journal, or a blank piece of paper.  Think about your ideal day in as great detail as possible.  Do you go to the bathroom right after you wake up?  Brush your teeth?  Make coffee first?  When do you go to work?  What sort of work would you want to be doing?

Once you’re done, take a look at what you’ve written.  Are you aligned with that vision now?  Maybe you need some slight course corrections.  Maybe you need a complete transformation.  Without these check-in’s it’s sometimes hard to get a position on where we are in relation to where we want to go.  Isn’t today a great day to start thinking about the rest of your life?

I believe that Jason was living the life that he dreamt of and wanted for himself.  Rest in peace, Jason.  Thank you for sharing your joy and your talent with the world. 🙂


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