What is really important?

| December 2, 2013

Surviving cancer shifts one’s perspective. Meiron Lees shares his attitude to life that offers new meaning, purpose and appreciation of what truly matters.

Cancer evokes an array of emotions, and having been one of the lucky ones to survive it has given me a new found perspective.

It pierces the veil of our judgements and offers great insight.

Our ability to keep small things in the small basket is challenging for most of us, and somehow we keep sweating the small stuff.

One of the gifts that cancer brought into my life was an awareness of what’s in the big basket and what truly matters in life.

I’ve been in a quiet space thinking a lot about life. I decided to become the observer to my life, taking a back seat in the movie house and watching life playing out while I integrate myself back into what was my normal environment.

But it’s different now. The colours of life’s playground have changed. I look around and don’t see the same view. How can it be the same after I’ve been blessed to have a second chance at living? How possibly can I dishonour such a gift by seeing the world and my life as the same?

I know what it’s like to have no energy, to be unable to do the simple things that we all take for granted. I now wake up in the morning without pain, I have the energy to walk, meet friends and to work for a few hours. A year ago I dreamt of such a life. I visualised being able to do normal activities, and here I am experiencing the dream. It’s an indescribable blessing that evokes nothing other than the deep emotion of gratitude.

I now re-enter life with a new meaning, purpose and appreciation.

So what’s really important, I ask?

Does it matter that it’s raining and the sun isn’t shining? Does it matter that the traffic is slow or the coffee is cold? Does it matter that our friend didn’t call or the cab didn’t arrive? Does it matter that others are in wonderful relationships and we struggle to find happiness? Does it matter that people around us are wealthier and have an easier life? Does it matter if we get rejected or if things aren’t going as well as we hoped they would?

None of this is of concern when we are able to take a different view of life. What if we were to think that life has turned out exactly the way we created it to be? And if things didn’t work out well or were beyond our control that they showed up specifically for our benefit? What if our attitude to life was that there is nothing “bad” even if at the time it appeared that way? What if we didn’t judge anything but rather interpreted events in a way that served and protected our emotions?

What then could be so bad? The truth is that most of the things we worry about don’t eventuate and that everything is “small stuff” other than severe ill health and unhappiness. So if we think all the other stuff is so important, guess what, they’re not!

We don’t have to get sick to be better so let’s all make a commitment to love life despite its hardships and to see perfection in imperfection.

We’d be smiling so much more.



An edited version of this article appeared first on Meiron Lees’ blog ‘Sharing the Cancer Journey’ and is re-published with the permission of the author.



  1. chrisan

    November 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    A mind is easy conviction, that is verdict on any course of action, is brought in finally not by science, not by reason, not by technology, not even by public opinions, but by results. A mind prepared not for disbelief but for constant, graceful and skepticism.