Spotlight: How Angela Weins Lives for Today
Angela Weins lives in Milwaukee, Wi. She has always believed in making the most of her life and living each day to the fullest. After receiving a diagnosis for multiple sclerosis in 2015, the phrase Live Your Dash has become an even stronger force in her life: a constant reminder to live for today. She’s determined to continue living an exciting, adventurous life, to live each day as it comes, and to always be kind to herself and others.
Learning to Live Her Dash at a Young Age
Angela first heard of The Dash Poem when she was in high school. Just a few weeks before graduating high school, she lost a friend, and the poem was read at her friend’s funeral. This was a wake-up call for Angela. Like most teenagers, she was placing a lot of value on material items, and not experiences. She re-evaluated her priorities moving forward. She says, “This idea of a dash really changed my thought process and I’m beyond grateful for it.”
Along with this remember about how finite life is, Angela’s parents always emphasized the importance of kindness and intentional living. She learned how to find the silver lining in any situation from her mother. This helped Angela learn to look at things from different points of view, and to grow from any experience that may not at first seem positive.
A Life-Changing Diagnosis and a Wake-Up Call
A few years ago(2015), Angela was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Angela has worked as both a paramedic and nurse, and she was always used to being the one who helped and cared for others. Getting this news and being the one who needed help was difficult for her. One of the first things Angela needed to do was to remember to love herself, and to repair the relationship she had with herself.
Angela is someone who’s known for always being on the move. She doesn’t like to take breaks, and she is extremely adventurous. With this diagnosis, Angela learned to be vulnerable; that it’s okay to not be okay. “I had to learn how to slow down and be patient with myself. This is still a work in progress.”, she says.
Even though she’s unable to control what’s happening to her body, she can still control how she feels about it and how she chooses to move forward. The lessons her parents taught her still stick with her, and she’s chosen to look for a silver lining. She has found that the best therapy is to just live a purposeful life. She knows that the future is always an unknown, so she does her best to just enjoy the ride and be kind to herself.
Filling her Dash with Adventure
Angela had wanted to visit Peru since she did a report on Machu Picchu in 6th grade. She’d always tell herself that one day she would hike the Inca Trail and see the ancient ruins for herself. After she was diagnosed with MS, she thought that this dream might never come true. Angela said, “This was the first time I doubted my capabilities.”
Thanks to Angela’s amazing friends, they inspired her to book the trip and live out one of her life-long dreams. Angela struggled to even describe how spectacular of a trip it was. She was able to hike high up in the clouds, sleep on the edge of the Andes Mountains, escape reality, see thousands upon thousands of stars in the sky at night. She says, “If there is one thing I can gift to someone it would be that feeling I had when I finally saw Machu Picchu.”
Live for Today
That trip specifically was a huge reminder to Angela that there will never be the ‘perfect time’ to do anything. Everyone needs to live their life for the present. One day when Angela looks back on her life, she won’t care about the material things—she will care about her experiences, her hike through the Andes, the view of Machu Picchu and the stars in the night sky.
Angela plans to keep traveling, living her dash, and raising awareness for the MS Society. She is grateful to have The Dash Poem as a reminder to be grateful of what she has in life. The biggest piece of advice she’d like to leave others is to just be yourself.
Angela’s Message to You:
Be you. Be you 100% of the time. Do not unwillingly change who you are for anyone or anything. There are billions of people in this world and you are one of a kind. There will never be another you; you’re special. You owe it to yourself and more importantly the universe to live a life that makes your soul sing. We are so busy looking at what other people are doing that we ignore our own callings. Put your phone down and be present. Be Kind!
That person who is struggling to find their place in this world may have the brains to cure cancer or even MS! Support them. Sometimes a warm smile can heal a broken heart. Don’t be that person that hides behind technology creating this illusion of superiority by belittling others. Your actions are blind; we are supposed to create good not bad. Like Maya Angelou said, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”. Be happy.
Happiness is subjective; it’s individualized. Do what makes you happy, not what makes you cool. Be proud of yourself. We are not defined by what we have but rather what we do. Make sure your actions are done with good intention, because what you say and do can never be taken back. Those words, good or bad, can be felt forever. Make sure you can live with them. More importantly, live a dash you are proud of. Make sure it’s epic, you owe that to yourself.
Life is crazy. Life is an adventure. But the biggest thing to note is that life is finite. So do your best to live for today and make today count. Stop putting your goals and dreams on hold. Make today the first day of a new life; a new outlook. How will you make the most of your dash?
Donate to the MS Society today.