The phrase “life is short” certainly becomes more apparent as the years pass. Life is short, indeed. Yesterday marked a significant 22 year mark for me and as with every anniversary, I reflect on how things were, as well as how things have changed. In my early years, I recall speaking with a man with a great deal more experience and wisdom than I. Tom M. told me “it’s like being shot out of a cannon” when he was asked to reflect on him reaching the 20 year mark. Well I agree whole-heartedly, Tom!
Just twenty three years old at the time, I had been blessed with a gift that many are not given until they are in their 40’s or 50’s. Some never get the gift at all and die an early death, end up in jail or just spend their lives in a state of depression, chaos, misery and fear. I am grateful for being given the opportunity to walk a different path.
Pain and heartaches of the 22 years include canceling plans to marry (just months before the wedding), a divorce (to the same woman, yes), the passing of my 13 year-old niece Julie, and the death of my father the following year. Sitting next to Sarah while a nurse told us that our daughter Abigail had died before she was delivered is the deepest sadness I will ever feel, of course. I am grateful that I had a strong foundation on which to stand upon as I walked, sometimes ever so slowly, through the pain of these losses. The polar feelings of joy and happiness have of course been realized many times as well.
For me, the freedom I have allows me to experience all of the joys that life has to offer. Knowing that I am no longer bound by feelings of "less-than" or false pride, I am able to make healthy decisions for myself as well as to think of others. I completed my first marathon within five years of starting this journey. Places traveled include Key West, Italy, The Bahamas, and Yellowstone National Park. After many years single, I met my wife Sarah. And oh ya – I was in the delivery room with her when Alicenne Hope, Anna Abigail and Emily Blessing came into the world! I don’t think I ever felt as high as I did that day. EVAH.
So here I am, twenty two years later - older, but wiser. I continue to apply all that I have learned. Of all the lessons, I think the one that I adhere to most is Easy Does It. I know now that it is important for me not to rush into anything, whether it is a decision to buy a new set of furniture or the process of sorting out my emotions. Easy Does It. Remain grateful and things will be okay.
Another friend told me many years ago that if I’m having a bad day to go to bed early that day. That made a lot of sense to me. No need to go to bed early today, folks. Life is good, 22 years later.