Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Live like you're Alive

Back in May I proposed a "what-if you were dying" scenario and asked some questions about what you would do if you were given only a few months to live.

A few people answered them, and I loved hearing the responses. I had hoped it would ignite in me my own answers, but instead, it just led to some sleepless nights.

Recently, a family member had a reoccurrance of cancer that they had fought and triumphed over for years. This time though, sadly, they were only given a short time to live.

I started writing the answers to these questions at that time. I thought we had more time. I wanted more time. Unfortunately, it ran out.

That family member died on Christmas Day.

And so, because you just never know, here are my answers:

-Where do you want to spend that precious time? I've really been racking my brain, swishing this question around, delving deep, to come up with an answer to this; and am having such a hard time answering it. It's so loaded. I want to spend it everywhere: soaking up the sun in the south of France; under the canopy of the Amazon trees; jumping out of a plane and feeling like I'm flying, if only for a moment; kayaking down a mighty river; a midst a herd of giraffes on a Savannah; snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef...living. I want to spend my time dying by living out my dreams.

-Is there anywhere you've never been and want to go? The two places I've really always wanted to go are Uganda and Brazil. I've been talking about them since I was a kid. Honestly, if the opportunity arose, I'd go anywhere in Africa or South America. Other places of interest are Ireland, Thailand and Australia. I am also hoping to make it to every US State (I have 20 left). Any National Park is a must do, with Yellowstone and Bryce topping the list.

-Somewhere you want to go again? Yosemite, but in the winter this time, to see the Frazzle Ice.

-Where do you call home? Like the first question, I've spent a lot of time thinking about this lately. Actually, moreso. I've spent so much time mulling over this that I'm to the point of staying up late thinking about it, waking up early to think about it, and dreaming about it...and this is what I came up with:

Home is my best friend's ski-sloped nose. It is my Dad standing in the grass with the water hose in his hand and a faraway look in his eyes. It is my Mom singing along to Kenny Loggins in the kitchen. It is sleeping in my sister's room on Christmas Eve. Home is my god-daughter swinging between her mom's and my arms squeeling, her eyes on fire. It is looking at Christmas lights while eating bomb-pops and listening to *NSYNC with my childhood friends. It is my cat on my windowsill watching birds and squirrels, her tail's end flicking. It is a cathedral organ trumpeting beneath stained glass. It is a walk in the woods. It's the breath and spit of the ocean kissing my face and hugging my toes. It is a mix cd and an open road. Home, of course, is where my heart resides...and my heart is scattered and free, like the wind.

-What have you always wanted to do, but never got around to? Skydive, river kayak, see Africa

-Are there any fears you want to face? I'm facing them. AA and being sick has helped me do that. I give speeches in front of people; I talk about my feelings; I dance; I cry. And the greatest thing about it is that I'm finally free.

-What would you eat?! Oh man, what WOULDN'T I eat?! A huge juicy steak- rare, with bleu cheese; pie: key lime, blackberry, apple, strawberry and, peach to start; donuts with sprinkles!; my mom's meatloaf and mashed potatoes; pierogies with applesauce and my favorite sumi salad; a whole gallon of milk; Blue Bell peppermint icecream...

-Who would you want to spend time with? My Loves. They know who they are.

-Who would you not mind ever seeing again? No offense, but all the doctors and medical personnell. Most importantly: The Pharm Techs at Walgreens Pharmacy that have messed up my meds every three weeks for nearly two years. I am not exaggerating.

-Is there anything you need to tell someone? If I've learned anything from this illness and losing people I love, it's this: If you love them, tell them. So, I'm trying to do just that.

-Or the world? Should the occasion arise that my time here has run out, let it be known: That I considered it time well spent- the good and the bad; that I didn't take life lying down, even when it knocked me off my feet; and that I lived and loved to the full extent of my ability. Of the lives I've touched, I hope I've spread more light than darkness. I've forgiven my past and left it behind, and urge you to the same. Count your blessings and not your burdens. Be kind, but don't be fooled. Do everything you can, that you can, while you can. Love as big and as long and as hard as you can.

-Anyone you need to forgive? I've let go of anything that hurt me, it was too heavy to carry around any longer.

-Or apologize to? I can only hope I've rectified my wrongs. I've really done my best lately to do so.

-Any projects you need to finish? I have been taking photos of my feet for 5 years in hopes of making a coffee table book entitled "Wherever you go, there you are." I am also writing a novel, without a final title yet.

-Or start? I need to start making plans to get to Africa, is what I need to do!

I think the most important question, that I will now ask is: Why wait until you're dying to live out your life, your dreams, your goals? Why wait to spend time with your loved ones and show them how much you care? Why does it take dying for us to live, when we could be living like we're dying, every day?

"Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows." -Michael Landon

"May you live all the days of your life." -Jonathan Swift


  1. There is a possiblity that I will be going to Brazil over the holidays next year if I can save up money on my piddly salary. If I do, you had better come with!!!