Life is short

Today has been a monumentally emotional day.

It started with assisting in a therapeutic yoga class, where I worked with a female flute player and a male ballet dancer, both of whom are experiencing shoulder and knee problems. The interaction with them and encouragement from my master teacher rekindled my love for teaching yoga. I cried on the drive home, unsure if the tears were those of happiness, confusion or something else.

My heightened emotional state progressed into the late afternoon, when I sat down to organize my job search and received an email from an employer prospect, someone with whom I’d been corresponding with for more than a month. In the email, he said that he thought I’d excel at his open position, but that I was too expensive to hire. I cried again. Tears of frustration this time.

The afternoon shifted into evening, when I began casting off emails to a few people in my “Contacts” folder, people to whom I haven’t reach out in a while. One of those emails was to a woman named Kimberly, a go-getter career gal who befriended me at a Costa Rica surf camp more than eight years ago. I was curious what she was up to. She had treated me like a kid sister during that surf camp. We kept in touch for a few years following, but that correspondence fizzled with time, as many do. When I stumbled upon our last saved email correspondence, I decided to send her a quick hello. I admired her ambitious nature and generous heart — and wanted to tell her that.

Well, that email bounced back. I got curious. I did a Google Search. The first thing to come up was her obituary. From 2011.

I cried again. This time, tears of sadness mixed with awe.

Kimberly died after a battle with cancer, something I knew a little about — but in my last correspondence with her, she made it seem like she was kicking its ass. I guess she was good at putting up a good front. The obituary spelled out all of her loves after briefly mentioning her career: “Kim loved to travel and has friends all around the globe. She loved the ocean, fine wine, drawing, the beach and her laptop.”

I wish I weren’t finding out about Kimberly now, three years after her passing. I feel a little guilty. I could have provided words of encouragement, of admiration, of laughter. I hope that those with whom she did surround herself did just that.

Maybe there is a good reason for me learning about Kimberly’s death now, though. Especially as I begin diving down the rabbit hole that is … searching for a new job. Based on what I knew about her, Kimberly lived life with full gusto. Yes, she was a workaholic, checking her Blackberry between riding the waves down in Costa Rica. I gave her a hard time about that. But she was more than her job. ¬†She was also very close with her family, she held her friends in high regard, she ran marathons. She lived.

Kimberly is reminding me to do this, even in her death.

It’s challenging to maintain perspective on life when tunnel vision narrows to career, career, career. These past two days, I have sensed myself succumbing to this. And stress has started to seep in.

Thank you, Kimberly, for giving me a much-needed slap.

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