Don't Count Your Somedays  

Wow. Four months to the day since my last post. You must think by now that these sporadic check-ins are performed solely out of compulsion or obligation, but that's not really the case. Even when this place is nothing but a bunch of tumbleweeds blowing through a field of crickets, I'm still writing somewhere. Occasionally it's for other websites. Sometimes it's at my job. Usually it's in one of the notebooks I have strategically deployed across my personal landscape.

Simply put, I have a genuine love for creating things. Funny things, serious things, stupid things, utterly pointless things; and not just with my big boy words. I've been known to dabble in art, science, languages, music, woodworking, theater, and the occasional bout of penis puppetry.

That being said, I don't do any of those things nearly as much as I would ultimately like to (or at all anymore in some cases). Most of my "plans" center around throwing myself at these creative pursuits someday. Luckily, someday has been statistically proven to be the best time to make plans for anything, seeing as we all believe ourselves to have an endless supply of somedays.

As if the universe or our future would ever be so deliberately considerate. Oh sure, take all the time you need! Just catch up with the rest of existence after you're done re-watching the full series run of Parks and Recreation for the third time!

We all know better. More importantly, I know better. I work in a hospital for fucks sake. I see decrepit, dying people on a daily basis. I hear the overhead pages for "Code Blue," meaning someone in the same building as me is literally seconds away from death. Yet somehow, like most everyone else, I convinced myself that I'm relatively immune from the influence of this inevitability.

Who wants to face the bitter cold of mortality when it's so much easier to stay snugly wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of somedays?

Too bad you don't always have a say in such matters.

Last weekend we received the heart-wrenching news that my wife's brother Jason had died. Not because of some terminal condition that had us anticipating his departure. Not from the reckless behavior or influence of another. Not due to some otherwise valiant circumstance. Jason died from a food allergy that would have normally left him itchy and wheezy, only this time it seized his throat and caused a severe asthma attack. A single piece of shrimp literally ended his life, and forever changed that of those who knew and cared for him.

It's beyond tragic. For me it's crossed beyond tragedy and into the realm of absurdity. The absurd part being how completely senseless it all feels. Jason was a great guy with dreams and goals and a life worth living just like the rest of us. He was known for bringing happiness into the lives of others, thanks in large part to his self-assured nature. He was one of the few people I've known that didn't put up a front for anyone, anytime. What you saw was what you got, and it was fucking awesome.

I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to see Jason the day after he passed. At first I very much didn't want to; the prospect of doing so scared me more than a little. I didn't want it to be real and didn't want the foundation of my life or my false sense of invulnerability to be shaken. I pushed through for my wife, because how could I possibly let her go in there alone?

As we both stood over him, weeping from the loss of a loved one, I felt an odd mix of pain and comfort. Deep, painful sadness for the good times we will never have together, but also a small comfort in knowing that his life had not been wasted. Jason had done exactly what we tell everyone else to do but rarely do ourselves -- live freely and always be yourself.

To anyone reading this: please remember that none of us are promised a single someday, let alone an infinite supply of them. If the urge to create is what drives you, then create things and see where it takes you. If all you want is to help others, then do it until your last breath. Fuck worrying about cliches and fuck what anyone else thinks -- do what makes you happy, love like there's no tomorrow, and never, ever compromise your true self.

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