English subtitles

← Being happy and living in the moment | Aisha Chaudhary | TEDxPune

Get Embed Code
12 Languages

Showing Revision 14 created 07/07/2020 by Peter van de Ven.

  1. My story is different from most
  2. because I had to undergo
    a bone marrow transplant

  3. when I was just six months old.
  4. And now, I have pulmonary fibrosis,
  5. which is a serious lung disease,
  6. and my lung capacity is only 20%.
  7. My name is Aisha Chaudhary,
    and I'm 17 years old.
  8. And today, I'd like to talk about
    what really matters most to me in life.
  9. Now, life can be tough
  10. when every single breath
    you take is a struggle
  11. and the slightest infection
  12. can cause a serious,
    life-threatening exacerbation.
  13. And the last one for me
    was in November last year,
  14. when I went from being able
    to walk around freely and go to school
  15. to suddenly being bedridden,
  16. unable to turn over in bed
    without getting out of breath.
  17. And I must confess that I did wonder
    if I was going to die.
  18. And I would have sleepless nights,
  19. just thinking, tossing, and turning
  20. with this idea that soon I may be gone.
  21. And if that's going to happen,
    then what's the point of anything?
  22. But then, it suddenly struck me
    that I'm not really alone in all of this.
  23. Is it not true that not just me
    but all of us are going to die one day?
  24. Yes, all of us are going to die.
  25. I'd like you all to just
    think about that for a moment.
  26. In the next hundred years,
  27. all of us sitting in this room today
  28. will be gone,
  29. just at different times -
  30. some sooner than the others.
  31. So then, if death is the ultimate truth,
  32. what should really matter most in life?
  33. I feel the only thing
    that truly matters to me is being happy,
  34. and happiness is a choice one makes.
  35. It's simply an attitude.
  36. I can either choose to be happy
  37. and try to smile through
    all of my difficult times,
  38. or I can choose to be miserable
    and get overwhelmed by it all.
  39. Now it's not that by being miserable
    I'm going to get any better.
  40. So I may as well choose
    to try and be happy.
  41. And if I have to have pulmonary fibrosis,
  42. I choose to have
    a happy pulmonary fibrosis.
  43. (Applause)
  44. Now, I'd like to share with you
    a few difficult moments in the recent past
  45. where I've chosen to be happy.
  46. This year, I was quite unwell,
  47. and I had to undergo
    several medical tests,
  48. and one such test was a sleep study
  49. done to check if my oxygen levels
    were okay when I sleep.
  50. And this picture was taken
    just before the study.
  51. And you can see that I'm almost trapped
    in a bunch of wires,
  52. some stuck to my face and some to my body,
  53. to monitor my heart,
    my brain and my breathing.
  54. Despite all of this, I'm still smiling
  55. because I refuse to let this illness
    get the better of me.
  56. I just won't let it.
  57. And I chose to find humor in observing
    the man who was doing my sleep study.
  58. I couldn't help but laugh
  59. at the way he would just put up
    his own feet on my bed
  60. and go off to sleep himself, snoring away.
  61. And this, obviously,
    made it difficult for me to sleep
  62. and maybe that's why
    my results were so bad.
  63. (Laughter)
  64. "How ridiculous," I thought to myself.
  65. Later that month, my family and I
    had to go to England
  66. for a full medical check-up,
  67. and the days were filled with long,
    boring medical appointments,
  68. talking about lung transplant
  69. and what seemed
    like endless amounts of tests.
  70. This is a picture of my brother and I
  71. just after I'd spent
    one long day at the hospital.
  72. But guess where we
    were headed in this photo.
  73. To see a Broadway show in London.
  74. And it was fabulous.
  75. I was able to put the trauma
    of the day at the hospital behind me,
  76. and I still managed
    to find the will and the excitement
  77. in going out for a play
  78. and spending quality time with my brother.
  79. I believe that it's important
    to create many happy memories
  80. so that we can try
    to wipe out the sad ones.
  81. After having quite an unpleasant summer
    with all of these medical issues,
  82. we decided to take
    a family holiday to the Maldives,
  83. and there was so much
    to do in the Maldives,
  84. but of course my health didn't permit me
  85. to do a lot of the things
    that I wanted to.
  86. And one of the main activities
    was snorkeling.
  87. And I desperately wanted to try it,
  88. but how could a person who has
    difficulty breathing go snorkeling?
  89. Well, in this picture,
    you can see me in my snorkeling gear
  90. right after I had popped
    my head out of the water
  91. after seeing the most beautiful,
    vibrant colored fish.
  92. Now, I'm not going to lie.
  93. I did only dip my head in for a second,
    but I did what I wanted to do.
  94. And that moment for me
    was worth everything,
  95. and I felt extreme happiness
  96. and was even surprised at myself
  97. for doing something that everyone
    wasn't sure was really possible.
  98. So happiness is clearly
    a choice one can make.
  99. No matter what, no matter where,
    you can find it if you look for it.
  100. In fact, Tom Wilson once said,
  101. "A smile is happiness you can find
    right under your nose."
  102. I feel that happiness
    is also doing what you truly love,
  103. and for me, my love is for art
  104. simply because it allows me
    to express myself
  105. in such a beautiful and unique way.
  106. As I dip my brush
    in the vibrant colors of paint
  107. and can almost feel the paint being
    smeared on to the fabric of the canvas,
  108. I tend to forget all of my worries
  109. and the difficult situation
    that I'm really in.
  110. And art makes me happy
  111. because it almost becomes
    a whole other world
  112. where I can escape,
    at least for a little while.
  113. And these days, my most favorite
    subject to paint is dogs.
  114. And now I'd like to introduce you
    to my own two dogs.
  115. Coby the labrador
    and Rolo the black pug.
  116. You can see who the dominant one is
    in the relationship.
  117. I find it so interesting
    that even though they can't speak a word,
  118. dogs can become
    the closest thing to your heart,
  119. your very best friend,
    and your companion.
  120. I love to observe them
    and try to figure them out.
  121. And I can't help but get inspired.
  122. Dogs are so similar to humans,
  123. yet they carry qualities that we humans
    struggle to achieve at times.
  124. Dogs can find happiness
    in the smallest of things.
  125. Dogs are delighted with a walk,
  126. ecstatic with a small treat
  127. and in heaven when you tickle their belly.
  128. Dogs truly mean the world to me.
  129. And now I'd like to share with you
    a few paintings that I've done recently,
  130. which were inspired by these two guys.
  131. The first one is of Coby,
  132. and it's capturing a snapshot
    of my everyday life.
  133. Just lying on my bed, watching movies,
    just as I love to do.
  134. The next one
  135. is inspired by my gorgeous pug, Rolo,
  136. and the legendary rock band Guns N' Roses.
  137. Now, all of this doesn't mean that life
    is always one big song and dance.
  138. It really isn't.
  139. Of course, there are days
    when I feel extremely down,
  140. where I feel like simply curling up
    into a ball and just giving up.
  141. But the realization that things
    could always be much, much worse
  142. always pushes me to get back up on my feet
    and put a smile on my face.
  143. I could have easily been born
  144. into a family that wasn't as loving
    and caring as my own,
  145. so I thank God for the family that I have.
  146. And I know for a fact
    that there are children out there
  147. who are much less fortunate than I am.
  148. And although I have this disease,
  149. I'm still glad that I can walk around
  150. and do what I love to do.
  151. So happiness is an attitude.
  152. Happiness is doing what you truly love,
  153. and I feel that happiness
    can only come from acceptance.
  154. I accept who I am,
    and I accept where I'm at,
  155. and I accept the challenges
    that I'm battling with today.
  156. And I'm even more determined
  157. to make the most
    of this wonderful gift of life
  158. that God has given me.
  159. Hans Anderson once said,
  160. "Enjoy life.
  161. There's plenty of time to be dead."
  162. So I hope that all of you
    enjoy your lives
  163. with as much happiness
    as you can possibly find.
  164. Thank you for listening.
  165. (Applause)