I am in awe of the journey of life; the struggle, the darkness and the light, the pain and joy. It makes me think of my mother weaving on her loom and the miraculous art that comes to life as the warp and weft bind seemingly incongruous patterns and colors together into something beautiful.
Many of the most defining moments in my life happened when I was in my twenties, living with my young son and my father who had Alzheimer’s Disease. These were hard years that tested me most days emotionally, physically, mentally, and even existentially. I was not always magnificent during these years because I didn’t know how to do it all, but I tried every day to be better than the day before. Lessons abounded, that’s for sure.
Sometimes I lost myself in exhaustion, in a desire to run away, in self-judgment. But at least once a day my father, son and I would laugh until none of us could breathe.
What I remember most from those years is sitting on the porch with my father in the evening while my son played in the yard or sat there with us chatting up a storm. Dad would smoke his cigar, sometimes playing his Spanish guitar. We would often sit there in silence watching the sunset over the ocean two miles from our house on the hill.
My Dad taught me, even in the throes of Alzheimer’s Disease, how to sit in gratitude no matter the other struggles in life. His illness also taught me to grab life and live as far as you can while being the best person you can be; my father was a man of great character and told terrible jokes as well.
This quote by Hunter S. Thompson sums up how I try to live my life: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”
To live into our potential requires a lot from us and I believe that when we are in health we have a greater chance of reaching it. It is my greatest joy to delve deep with my clients to help them on their path to health and their “Wow, what a ride!”
Carrie Brumfield is a Functional Medicine Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach, a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, and an epidemiologist based in Austin, Texas. She earned her MPH in epidemiology from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and her MBA from the Anderson School of Management, UCLA.
Choosing a career in public service, Carrie worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in varied positions including Chief of Staff for the Bioterrorism Program, epidemiologist with a focus on Alzheimer’s Disease, and Chief of Staff for Departmental Operations.
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