Amy Rees Anderson

Happiness Is Living In The Moment RIGHT NOW! A message from a man with ALS

Earlier this year one of my dear friends, Warren Osborn who is also a very successful entrepreneur, was diagnosed with the fatal disease ALS.  The news rocked my husband and I because Warren is one of the most active, healthy people we know. He has a work ethic that is unmatched and he’s never afraid to take on any challenge. The night my husband and I heard the news we sat talking with heavy hearts, asking why Warren? As soon as we asked that question it hit us – if ever there was a person who would fight this disease with full might and who could make the most progress toward finding a cure for it, it will be Warren, because that is who Warren is.  And whether he wins the fight with ALS or not, he will touch lives through his journey.  The evidence of that is seen in this powerful message Warren posted last Thursday:

“Happiness is very much about living in the moment, right NOW.

You and I and every single person on earth has a death sentence! It may come when we are 90 years old or it may come tomorrow. But we all will die. That is part of mortality. But going to that place in your mind, and thinking about THAT is not going to make you happy. Do you sit around worrying and thinking about the suffering you MAY experience at that time? If you do, you are living with pain unnecessarily—living the pain of the future 2 or 3 or 10 or a 1000 times over.

Ya, I was diagnosed with a terminal illness and told by my doctor that I have 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 years to live (since May, 2018), with much of that not having the use of my arms, legs, speech/voice, or even the ability to breath on my own. I’m not delusional about that. I’ve prepared for the worst. I’ve recorded my voice so that in the event that I lose my voice I can speak through text and the computer will speak for me, sounding like me. I’ve prepared my living will, my estate, and other things. I’ve prepared for the future, but I don’t LIVE in the future’s pain. I just don’t go THERE (into that world of hell) mentally. I LIVE IN THE NOW! Thus I am as happy as I’ve ever been! Literally, I am so very happy, every day.

Happiness is all about enjoying what you do HAVE and what you do, right now! It is not about worrying about what you might lose or mourning over what you do not have. That produces unhappiness. I focus every day on improving, on fighting, on winning, on achieving, on working towards a cure for ALS, and on loving and serving my friends and family. And I have victories every day! That makes me very very happy. I like working to solve problems. That brings me great joy. I’ve founded several successful companies and they were all about SOLVING problems. They were all very difficult. Each company had thousands of problems to solve. Solving problems brings joy! Worrying and mourning about the problems of the past or the future brings pain. The joy is in the journey, the process, not just in the arrival. Joy is found in acting, in lifting, in loving, in serving, in working, and in going after things passionately.

This week in Mexico I saw many homeless people. One man had no legs. He was singing on the street, earning a living. He had a beautiful voice! I donated some money to him. He could easily get depressed not having legs. Instead, he makes the best of what he DOES have. He has a great voice and he uses it! That brings joy and happiness. If he thought only about what he does not have (his legs), he would be perpetually depressed and sad. Instead, he focuses on what he has! And he uses what he does have. And that creates happiness.

Don’t worry about the pain and hell that might come at some future date. And don’t stew about the pain or regrets of the past. Work on making your life better today. Work on making others lives better today! That too creates happiness!

Life is great! There is no point throwing away great time mourning about the past or worrying about the future. Such just throws away the current moment. NOW is what matters. Living, loving, serving, and lifting NOW creates happiness. Today is where it is all at. And worrying about tomorrow or a few years from now when maybe I won’t be able to speak, or walk, or swallow would only destroy today and turn a great day into a sad and painful one. Be happy. Enjoy every moment you have. And make it great by doing great things every single day!

Be grateful for what you do have? I have hands, feet, a voice, a beautiful and wonderful wife and family, and so many incredible friends. I have 6 wonderful children and 5 beautiful grandchildren (photos of them here). They all bring me so much happiness. I get so much joy in them! I am so very thankful to all of you, my friends and loved ones! If you don’t have something, anything, focus on something else that you do have. You all have a lot! We all lack in many things. But we all have abundance in so many other things.

Finally, you may say that something in your life really stinks. I get it. I’ve had some bad days too. I crashed skiing a few years ago and broke 15 bones and had 4 surgeries to repair. It sucked and it hurt so bad. But I was happy anyway most the time as I focused on the things that I had, on work, on growing, on building, on friends, on family, on catching up on things, etc.

In the summer of 2016 we went to India on a service mission to help people with leprosy. One woman had lost all of her fingers, all of her toes, her three children had all died, and she was blind. And even she found joy in the NOW, in what she did have. None of us have it that rough. So don’t live in the pain of the past or the potential pain of the future. Fight through the pain of today and enjoy conquering it. And you and I can have much joy every single day.

Some might say, my body hurts everywhere, I lost my close friend, my loved one has cancer, etc. We are all going to experience these types of difficulties. Focus on good things and good people around you. See my grandchildren here. They bring me joy. You have friends and loved ones too. Find joy in them when your own life is full of pain. The flowers, the mountains—everywhere there is beauty to be found and enjoyed.

Here is to living life to its fullest, living in the NOW, and not worrying and mourning over the regrets of the past or the hard potential things of the future. Right now is what matters. And every one of us can make a huge difference every single day. We can be happy living in the NOW.”

Warren and Tricia Osborn (back row center) and family

—-What an amazing message Warren Osborn wrote that every one of us can benefit from hearing. I am so grateful to Warren and his wife  Tricia for their friendship and for their example of strength, courage, and gratitude. And today I am especially grateful for their reminder to be happy living in the NOW!

~Amy Rees Anderson

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