The picture above was taken yesterday. At a cancer clinic. An hour later, I heard the word “incurable” for the second time in my life. It hurt just as much as the first time.
These clinics are usually the quiet part of any hospital. There is a knowing nod and a slight smile you offer to the people filtering in and out of the hallways. You don’t know their story, they don’t know yours — yet you feel something binds you together.
Looking at these empty chairs, while anxiously waiting for our turn to be called in, I thought about all the people who sat there. Where are they now? What was their life like? Are they still here? Or did they leave us? Did they get to do everything they wanted to do? Did they get to say everything they needed to say?
In a way, we are all in a waiting room of some sort. Some of us are waiting for the perfect time to take a chance and start a business. Propose. Have children. Leave an unfulfilling job. Go on a 5 day hike. Take a writing course. Start a passion project.
I waited many times. I still do. For better circumstances. For a higher amount in my bank account. For the rain to stop. For a client to reply. For the audience to laugh.
Yet, I was sitting there looking at these empty chairs. In a quiet hallway. Illuminated by fluorescent lighting and surrounded by pastel coloured paintings on the walls. Thinking about the people who sat there. Waiting. A grim reminder of what awaits us all. And a wonderful reminder to do something that matters.
Whatever that means to you.
Maybe you’re waiting to say “I love you”. Maybe you’re waiting to come out. Maybe you’re waiting to tell your manager to fuck off, maybe you want to thank them for the guidance they gave you. Maybe you’re waiting to paint, to write, to share, to travel, to stand up for yourself or what you believe in. Maybe I shouldn’t have hit publish on this post. I don’t know.
I can tell you that life is short. So what the fuck are you waiting for?