In February last year I handed in my notice and became a stay-at-home-mum. I had worked as a legacy fundraiser at Cancer Research UK for almost 6 years. It was my dream job. Deciding to leave that dream job behind was not easy.
Cancer Research UK: workplace
As soon as I began to work in the Voluntary Sector my ultimate goal was to work for Cancer Research UK. It is the largest and most successful charity in the UK. But it is also a charity that I support and I believe passionately in the cause. I knew it would be an inspiring place to work.
Working there did not disappoint. It was amazing. I met and worked alongside fantastic people and I made life-long friends.
I had a job that I loved. A job that I knew I could do well and that gave me great satisfaction.
During my time at Cancer Research UK I changed as a person. I developed both professionally and personally.
But I did not expect that working at Cancer Research UK would teach me more about life. My day job taught me some valuable life lessons. Lessons that I am not always brilliant at following. But lessons that I need to remember and that I try to use as motivation for how I live my life.
Cancer Research UK: teacher
These are the life lessons that working at Cancer Research UK taught me:
Life is precious
We can never know what life has in store for us. We can not predict what is around the corner. And we can never know whether tomorrow will be the day when our life changes … for better or worse.
So, dear readers, my advice to you is to live in the moment.
Seize the day.
Appreciate the wonder in this world and the goodness in your life.
You need to savour every waking moment because life is short. It is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate or hanging around with friends who make you unhappy.
It is too short to spend your days believing that if only you had that new car, partner, job or house then you would be happy. Learn to love your life as it is today.
You need to be courageous. You need to have fun. You need to spend more time playing, reading, listening to music, walking in the great outdoors, talking to friends, dancing, singing, loving, experiencing and doing. You need to spend less time worrying. You need to embrace life because life is short and extremely precious.
Aging is a privilege
Not everyone born into this world is given the opportunity to grow old. They aren’t given the chance to get grey hairs or see wrinkles develop on their face. They will never see the day when they get to blow 10, 20, 30, 40 or more candles out on their birthday cake.
That is why I will smile when more wrinkles appear on my face. My grey hairs will become my badge of honour.
On my next birthday, I won’t feel sad that I am 37 and another year older. Instead, I will be grateful that I have seen 37 birthdays.
Humans are amazing
Human beings are continuously surprising. Our bodies are the most complicated and marvellous machines. They are capable of enduring so much. Yet they are simultaneously as fragile and breakable as a butterfly’s wing.
Our bodies deserve respect. They need to be protected and nurtured. You need to show gratitude for all your body does for you every second of every minute of every day. You need to give your body the love it deserves. Treat it right and it will repay the favour.
Humans are inspiring.
A person can cope with sadness and grief and still find reasons to smile. A scientist can look down a microscope and see the potential for saving thousands of lives. An individual can face great suffering but still find the time and love in their hearts to help others.
There is always hope
There were days when working at Cancer Research UK was emotionally draining. I heard personal stories that broke my heart.
But I also met people who filled me with hope.
I met people who having been told the worst lived to see their children getting married and were able to hold their grandchildren in their arms. I met scientists who hoped that their work could discover the break through that would save thousands of lives. They would not give up until they saw that dream came true. Even if this meant sleeping on a camper bed in a cold laboratory on Christmas Eve in order to babysit their experiments.
These people inspired me and they taught me that no matter what happens in life there is always hope. No one can take that away from you.
Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 song was right. Sunscreen is the future. If you want to live a healthier and happier life then wear sunscreen. Oh, and don’t smoke!
Has your job taught you valuable life lessons? I would love it if you could share them in the comments below.