This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution I’m stressed out. I’m stressed about money. I’m stressed because we’re rolling out a big feature that should change the way people interact on Brazen Careerist. I’m stressed because we can’t seem to hit a development deadline to save our lives. And I’m stressed because I’m traveling […]
This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution
I’m stressed out. I’m stressed about money. I’m stressed because we’re rolling out a big feature that should change the way people interact on Brazen Careerist. I’m stressed because we can’t seem to hit a development deadline to save our lives. And I’m stressed because I’m traveling to New York and Boston all next week, right in the middle of all this chaos. But most of all I’m stressed because after what happened on Monday, I think that being stressed out is a total waste of time, yet I continue to do it.
My friend, Valerie Ludwig, passed away on Monday morning. She had been sick for a few years, but as far as I knew, she was doing much better. We’d drifted apart since High School. Sophomore and junior year we were close. We traveled in the same group. My guy friends dated her girl friends. We hung out on the weekends. She was a great person. Always happy. Always smiling. Always having a good time.
When I got the call from Andrea on Monday morning, I had eerie flashbacks to junior year of high school. It was too similar to the morning I found out about my friend Mike passing away in a car accident the night before.
I pictured Val at Mike’s funeral with the rest of our group, tearful, sad, and most of all confused about how something like this could happen to a 16 year old kid. I remembered Val at my best friend Ben’s father’s wake three years ago. I walked out of the funeral home, balling my eyes out after a tearful encounter with Ben and his mother. Guess who was there to comfort me? Val, strong and compassionate, she gave me a huge hug and told me everything would be ok.
Now it’s her turn. Her wake is tonight. I can’t be there. I wish I could. Now she’s gone and it just doesn’t seem fair. Nobody should die at 25.
I’ve come to find out that she was sick for a long time. She was on steroids that changed the way she looked. But she was never down. At our high school reunion, she looked a little different but she was the same old Val. Happy as hell and chatting with everyone – from the theatre kids, to the bandies to the jocks, she didn’t care. She never cared. She was never stressed. Or at least she never let it show.
And that’s why I was so disappointed in myself for stressing out. I have a good life. I have a healthy family. I have great friends. I have an amazing girlfriend. I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do with my career. Why stress about the little things?
Then I spoke with a mentor of mine. I told him how silly and unimportant all of this stuff seems when you hear about something so tragic. He told me it’s not silly. It is important. We’re put here to do something – to make a difference. What we do with our lives should be very important to us. So we continued on and talked business.
Tragedy will happen more and more as we get older. When it does, we sit back and reflect, but unfortunately we probably forget too soon. And we go on stressing out about life.
But you know what; I’m not going to forget. Maybe for an hour, maybe for a day, and maybe even for a week, I’ll get wrapped up in my own head and my own worries. But somehow, I’ll remind myself of Val and how she handled her hardships – real hardships, and I’ll snap out of it.
But I will continue to care about the things that are important in my life. And for me, with caring comes stress, and that’s ok. I just can’t let the stress consume me and bring me down. Instead, I’ll put it to good use and fight like hell for my friends, my family, my company, my career and whatever else is stressing me out. Because that’s what Val did, she fought like hell for her life. And even though she didn’t win that fight, she made the world she left behind a better place for everyone who knew her. And that’s what really matters.
Rest in Peace, Val.
Ryan Healy is the COO/Co-Founder of Brazen Careerist and regularly writes and speaks on all things Gen Y, and Entrepreneurship