I woke up this morning with a rather somber idea, one I felt necessary to tell others. I have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and I’ve been fighting for my life now for about three years. Sympathy is not in my wheelhouse. I don’t need it, but what I do need is to express my feelings about my past and future. No, I’m not going to write a four hundred page thesis about it, just a brief thought or two. It’s a personal thing that I don’t take lightly or repeat with light mindedness.
I have PH, pulmonary hypertension. It’s a scary illness. You can’t look at someone and say, “That guy looks sick as hell.” PH doesn’t work that way. They call it the invisible illness. It involves the lungs and the heart. I can barely catch my breath when I walk from one room in my house to the other. I must be attached to an oxygen machine 24/7, not fun. I will slowly die when my lungs cease to create oxygenated blood for the heart to pump.
That’s not the important part of it all. I am seventy-three years old and the majority of my living is behind me, gone, over. I now must live each day at a time, something I should have done years ago. That’s right I have never lived from day to day. It’s always been from payday to payday, holiday to holiday, party to party, job to job, love to love. Well, you get the idea. Now I am happy just to wake up, just to see my wife another day, to see my grandkids one more time. Life has suddenly taken on a new meaning for me, it now has value. Time is precious.
Compared to many I’m sure I have not lived the most productive and memorable life, but I have lived. I have endured divorces, religious obsessions, wars, poverty, crazy politics, and a billion jobs. I went to college late in life, earned two degrees, fell madly in love, and fell out of the Christian faith.
I spent many empty years searching for the meaning of life and the meaning of “me.” Discovering only that the only meaning in this life is the one I choose. I have chosen the life of now. Now is infamously more settled and secured than tomorrow. Tomorrow is a guess.
So, to my friends who expect to find gold in “them there hills,” it’s not there. The golden nuggets you’re searching for are in your pockets. Your dreams are yours and no else’s. No one can take responsibility for your life. Own it my friends.