Recently my close friend's sister died. She was only 49. We went back to Florida to see her. As soon as I saw her face I knew she was dying. Her spirits were good, her face kind, and she was tired. That was her second bout with cancer. She had made the survival five years ago and had been advised to check in with the Cancer Institute every six months. In the beginning she did so religiously. She had family and friends who love her. She had career goals. In every way Teri wanted to live. Despite that love of life, she knew from her first bout with cancer that she did not want to make Cancer prevention her main priority in life. Don't get me wrong, it was A priority, just not the main one.

As far as cancer survivors go, Teri learned her lesson well. Her little apartment was replete with books on relaxation, nutrition, beating cancer. She took up yoga. She ate well. She bought a trained a race horse. She had her mare bred and was cusping on a completely new career as a racehorse owner/breeder at the time of her death. This from a woman who spent over twenty years of her life waiting tables. She did not have a "bucket list." Teri lived her last five years of live fully with priorities firmly established.

We were impressed by the love she generated. As we sadly returned to her apartment, located two hours away from the hospital we meant to find someone to care for her cat. We checked on her cars. We spoke to her employer. Person after person repeated the same phrase, "Teri, my best friend." How could she be everyone's "best friend"? Isn't "best" superlative? As if there might be only one? Apparently not in Teri's case. She had always been clever, funny, and authentically friendly. Surviving cancer once, just served to emphasize that even further. She WAS the best friend. She was the person who sensed when you were uncomfortable and in lieu of capitalizing on your discomfort, sought to draw you out. She got along with every sort of personality. She looked the good, remembered the best, worked hard, played hard, had a fabulous sense of humor.

Her relationships were characterized with warm genuine feeling. How many people have the priority in life to avoid embarrassment? Or worse simply a fear of failure? That is a sad priority in life to have. May be that's why people suffer mid-life crises. On suddenly realizing how little time is left people feel the need to make up for lost time with silly behavior. The truth is, you don't need a red Ferrari or a trip to Paris to feel good about yourself. You are going to feel as happy as you are every going to feel right now. Right now if you love yourself.

Career goals are fine if you love the challenge and enjoy the ride. Teri loved her horses, loved working them, feeding them, even cleaning up after them. There was no aspect of horse care she didn't adore. Some people who hire a groom to care for a horse, she confided in me, getting close to the animal with personal care was her favorite part! Do your favorite part. Don't delegate away raising your own kids to a babysitter, or making nice meals to McDonalds. Do life with care and love for yourself and your family.