Thanks to Gaia and John at The F**k It Life for sharing the following in a recent email update:
Hi Lovely You,
We discovered yesterday that Elliot Dallen had died.
You probably haven’t heard of Elliot Dallen (we hadn’t until recently).
Well, he was a young man, 31, who died of cancer on Monday, hours after his last article was published in The Guardian.
I read his article on Monday. And I was touched by it.
He and his words have been with me since Monday.
And so have you.
Because I’ve been thinking about sharing his wisdom with you since Monday.
In that article, he wrote –
“Because I’ve had time to think about the things that are really important to me…
I want to share what I’ve discovered.”
I love what this young man summed up as ‘important’,
so I want to pass his wisdom on to you all.
Here are ‘the things that are really important’, from Elliot Dallen –
“First, the importance of gratitude.
During my worst moments – the shock of cancer diagnosis, the mental lows and debilitating symptoms of chemotherapy – it was difficult to picture any future moments of joy, closeness or love.
Even so, at those times I found comfort in remembering what I have: an amazing family, the friends I’ve made and times I’ve shared with them, the privilege of the life I’ve had.
Second, a life, if lived well, is long enough.
This can mean different things to different people. It might mean travel. I’ve had the good fortune to be able do this, and can confirm that the world is a wonderful place full of moments of awe and amazement – soak up as much as you can.
It may mean staying active, as much as possible – the human body is a wonderful thing. You only appreciate this when it starts to fail you. So when you find yourself slipping into autopilot, catch yourself, and take simple pleasure in movement, if you can. Look after your body because it’s the only one you have, and it’s bloody brilliant.
Knowing that my life was going to be cut short has also changed my perspective on ageing. Most people assume they will live into old age. I have come to see growing old as a privilege.
Nobody should lament getting one year older, another grey hair or a wrinkle. Instead, be pleased that you’ve made it.
If you feel like you haven’t made the most of your last year, try to use your next one better.
Third, it’s important to let yourself be vulnerable and connect to others.
We live in a society that prizes capability and independence, two things that cancer often slowly strips away from you. This was naturally a very difficult pill to swallow for a healthy, able late-twentysomething male, but having to allow myself to be vulnerable and accept help has given me the best two years of my life, which was pretty inconceivable at the time of diagnosis.
Vulnerability has shown me what phenomenal people my sister and parents are – words can’t do justice to how much they have done for me.
The same applies to my friends – what better way is there to spend two years than being surrounded regularly and closely by these people?
Fourth, do something for others.
Against the backdrop of Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and the desperate attempts of migrants to cross the Channel, my thoughts really turned to those who have not had my privilege – whether that’s by virtue of socioeconomics, ethnicity or the country I was born in.
I always try to remind myself of this.
Fifth, protect the planet –
I can’t leave this off because it’s so important.
I’ll be gone soon, but humanity will still be faced with the huge challenge of reducing carbon emissions and saving habitats from destruction.
In my time here, I’ve been lucky enough to see some natural wonders and understand how precious they are.
Hopefully future generations will be able to say the same. But it will take a massive collective effort.
If you asked me what I’d want to leave behind, it would be a new awareness of these things among my friends – and anyone who’ll listen, really.”
Well, Elliot, we and our friends have been listening,
and we’re benefitting from this new awareness already,
THANK YOU and fare well on your next journey.
Love to Elliot, love to you all,
John & Gaia x
Elliot’s full, original article is here –
ELLIOT’S GUARDIAN ARTICLE, Monday 7th September