7 1/2 minutes more life

I just recently watched a presentation by Jane McGonigal. I am in awe. I’ll post the video below for y’all to view.

5 MOST COMMON REGRETS THAT PEOPLE SAY ON THEIR DEATH BEDS:

1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

3. I wish I had let myself be happier.

4. I wish I had had the courage to express my true self.

5. I wish I had lived the life true to my dreams instead of what others expected of me.

I’ll let you ponder those 5 regrets for a while as I skip around in her speech to the part where she talks of POST TRAUMATIC GROWTH. We’ve heard a lot about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but I had never heard of Post Traumatic Growth. McGonigal says that “some people get stronger and happier after a traumatic event.”

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“Here are the top five things that people with post-traumatic growth say: My priorities have changed. I’m not afraid to do what makes me happy. I feel closer to my friends and family. I understand myself better. I know who I really am now. I have a new sense of meaning and purpose in my life. I’m better able to focus on my goals and dreams.

“Now, does this sound familiar? It should, because the top five traits of post-traumatic growth are essentially the direct opposite of the top five regrets of the dying. Now this is interesting, right? It seems that somehow, a traumatic event can unlock our ability to lead a life with fewer regrets.”

McGonigal speaks about a game that she designed (she really is a video game designer) and if you complete the game, you will gain 7 1/2 more minutes to your life. I was skeptical at first but played it and am convinced now that I have been playing her game all this time since experiencing the trauma of losing so many family members, changing jobs, changing residences and changing of family life. The extreme trauma that I encountered in such a short amount of time placed me in the same stance that she speaks of in her presentation.

So how did I play her game and how does it connect to my running? Watch her video now to fully understand and if YOU are a runner, see how it pertains to you. If you are NOT a runner but want to live life without those regrets, don’t worry… she tells you how you can, too, and without even having to run a full marathon or all the other extreme events I’ve done.

Take a look at that regret list again. As it pertains to me, I’m glad things happened the way the did… now that I see this perspective.

1. Because of all the family deaths that happened so close to each other and in such a short amount of time, I can now see the opportunity that was given to me to spend those last remaining moments with those who passed and now more time with my father (who is probably hurting way more than I am) and my children at home before one leaves to college and the other just grows up too fast. ***Now if you are reading this and judging me already, think twice. I’m not saying “Don’t work hard”. You didn’t see the video if you’re saying that. I’m saying that these events changed my perspective on life and understand now how fragile it is and allowed me to make spending time with my family a priority.

2. I grew up with a motley crew of amigos. We were all so different from each other, a breakfast club of misfit toys but loyal like you’ve never seen before. They all came to my side to offer love and assistance in my time of need when my family passed away. The tragedy brought us all back together. And since I began running, joining Team in Training, the Maniacs, RWC, the Cyclepaths, etc. I’ve made even more wonderful friendships that inspire and encourage me to a level I never knew existed.

3. I have a better understanding of what brings me happiness and how to BE happy. While I understand that there will always be stress, sadness and traumatic events that happen in life, I feel better prepared to handle them without going into full blown depression, yelling, screaming and crying – well with one exception. My Momma had a way of finding the silver lining in every bad situation. She did a great job of teaching me that skill. I know WHO I am, accept my flaws, forgive myself and move on so that I improve myself in the best way I possibly can.

4. Although it was difficult in the beginning, but documenting my experiences via facebook and this blog and talking about the silver linings has helped me remember the good in my life and not dwell on the negative. Expressing myself has probably been the hardest thing for me to do because it exposed my vulnerabilities to public judgment. While trying to focus on the positive, some people tried to turn it around and make it seem like I was bragging rather than writing a never ending sob story or discussing all my faults for scrutiny. While it is still difficult to manage my “editors” from the peanut gallery, I’m pretty pleased with the way I have expressed myself. I’ve told my story. I’ve shared my experiences and knowledge and hope that it helps someone else who is going through similar circumstances.

5. I may have missed my chance to fulfill the dreams I had when I was young BUT as I have grown and learned more about the world, I’ve found new dreams and new goals to have. I am confident that tomorrow I may have even more dreams and goals but the important thing is that I allow myself a plan to get to those dreams and goals that I have. I still have those who expect me to be something/someone I am not… I struggle with that and do what I can to be that better person for them. Deep down inside, I think we all know we can’t be all things to everyone no matter how hard we try, we can’t make everyone happy.

So did you play the game and complete it? Come on. Be honest. Did you snap or count backwards? More importantly… did you give up?

Giving up was the key language for me in her presentation. It was my NOT giving up when I ran that boosted my resilience. I could have given up and cried on the couch and chowed down on cheese puffs while ordering material items I don’t really need with money I don’t have on QVC specials while gulping martinis. No… my Momma taught me better than that. She taught me how to play the game right.

Hi. My name is Myssie and I have Post Traumatic Growth disorder. Do you? Tell me about how what didn’t kill you made you stronger.

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