BBC reporter Emma Barnett talked to two women writers who had close experiences with death and asked how their outlook on life had changed.
Georgina Scull and Tanya Shadrick explain that the transition to their ‘second life’ is not a very fast process, and they try to evaluate their lives patiently and bravely and try to make new decisions.
Georgina almost died when her fallopian tubes burst due to an ectopic pregnancy at the age of 37.
Saying that she decided to talk to other women with similar experiences to understand what it means to live life to the fullest after her recovery, Georgina explains her experiences as follows:
“After my recovery, I started to feel stuck between the past and the future. I knew that I needed to make some changes in my life, but it was a very slow process, it took years.
“I didn’t want to leave my wife right away, but at some point I felt that I had to leave. I wanted to change my job as well. But I was afraid at first, so I continued with my life the same way.
“Regrets often come from living up to other people’s expectations. At one point, I sat down and evaluated the things that made me unhappy. But it was difficult to separate myself from the past.”
Tanya, on the other hand, had arterial bleeding after giving birth at the age of 33. After recovering from her coma, Tanya decided she wanted to live her ‘second life’ in a different way.
“It happened very suddenly. All of a sudden I started bleeding. I knew I was dying, it was very scary,” Tanya continues, describing her experience:
“I deeply regretted my ‘first life’ cowardice. I looked pretty good on paper but was actually running away from life.
“Wake-up calls in life are very sudden, they usually happen in such emergencies. It also takes time to make the most of these calls.”
Geogina and Tanya share 7 ways to live life to the fullest.
1. Be honest about what you want
Georgina shares that our lives are made up of various parts, such as our friends, family, and work, and what we want out of life changes from time to time.
He suggests reviewing different parts of our lives from time to time, removing the things that don’t make us happy, and embracing those that make us happy.
Tanya says that it is very normal to feel regret or want to embark on new adventures when we do not feel free for various reasons in life.
Tanya emphasizes the importance of listening to our inner voice, trusting ourselves and being patient.
2. Postpone what you want to do
Georgina explains that everyone in life makes plans for the future, but sometimes when too much focus is placed on the future, what has been done or can be done is overlooked.
“Go on that trip you want to go, meet the friend you want to date, start new hobbies. There’s no perfect time to do those things. Enjoy the present,” says Georgina.
“You don’t always have to have specific goals in life, but every journey is worth living. Be open to new experiences,” says Tanya.
3. Don’t try to change the past
Georgina explains that some of the decisions we make in life are an effort to change our past.
“If you grew up in a family with limited financial means, your priority may be to earn money in your life. Or if you didn’t grow up in a loving family, you may always be looking for love. But remember that it’s impossible to change the past. All we can do is live the present fully and the way you want,” says Georgina.
4. Don’t put a time limit on yourself
Tanya says, “Our society is looking for quick solutions to every problem. We have goals such as how can I lose 10 kilos in a month, or how can I run 5 kilometers in 6 weeks. In fact, much more interesting things can happen when we give ourselves longer periods of time.”
“The duration of an apprenticeship in the UK is usually 7 years. Why not allow so much time to do the things we most want to do? You might ask yourself, what subject would you choose if you were guaranteed to specialize in one subject in 10 or 20 years?”
5. Keep trying new things
“It’s easy to get stuck in a routine. Try changing places and activities in between. Meet new people. If you don’t do these things, your world will get smaller and smaller,” says Georgina.
Tanya suggests, “How can you get excited about living? You could try listing 100 things you love, for example. Stick with it for days or weeks. At the end of this process, you will realize what makes you happy and excited.”
6. “Recognize love”
“…And I’m not just talking about romantic love. Recognize the love for your friends, family, yourself or your job,” says Georgina.
“Sometimes we don’t realize the value of love when it is right in front of us. However, one of the most effective things we can do to contribute to our happiness and joy of life is to recognize and appreciate the love in our lives.”
7. Forget what people think
“Try to ignore how many people like your social media posts, or people’s comments about your choices,” Tanya says.
“The biggest change you can make in life is saying yes to more experiences, going to parties, not hiding from life. The things we find most difficult to do and choose not to do come back to us as regrets later on.
“Try showing some courage for the things you value.”