Tempus, it doth fugit

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Looking back over the Liver Anniversary Vacation, one conversation stands out to me.  On the actual one year date, Sean and I were talking about how people always ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” when you are coming of age.  It’s a pretty interesting question to think about when you’re all grown up.  5 years then seemed like such a long time.  Now, 5 years is nothing.  It’s a whisper…a flicker…a sneeze…then *poof* gone.  You’re left baffled, looking around like time is some tangible thing you can catch and shake the crap out of for running so fast from you.  As a former lifeguard in my youth, I kind of picture time now as this bratty little kid that won’t stop running around the pool no matter how many times you blow your whistle at him or sit him out.  The little shit will still keep sneaking out of his chair and running around when you aren’t looking. 

So interesting fact – when we had this conversation on the one year date (11/16/16) – we realized that looking back 5 years ago to try to think of what we both thought would happen in our lives that the date would have been 11/16/11.  Kind of interesting if you are into numbers and meanings.  I digress..

So where will you be in 5 years?  I will have made it half way to the 10 year survival mark that is so crucial for transplant patients.  Being alive in 5 years will be a huge milestone for me now.  Well, I guess now 4 years from now that is…

Where was I 5 years ago if I were to ask my former self the same question?  I was in the 6th year of a now former marriage.  I had just moved to Galveston Island and across from a family that would forever change my life course in a way I never could have imagined.  I had spent the spring of that first year living at home with my ankle healing from surgery.  The last time I would have shared morning coffee and kisses goodnight from my mother (still necessary as an adult, I promise).

What has happened in the last 5 years?  Divorce, PhD pursuit, mom’s suicide, new relationship, liver transplant, sobriety, said goodbye to 2 furry puppy friends, relearned to walk, learned what it was like to be on life support, began being a stepmother figure to a little girl, moved 3 times, got in 2 car accidents…that’s all I can remember off-hand..

I’m sure everyone’s “last 5 years” are full of equally hard and wonderful things.  Despite my last 5 years and my current 5 years I can’t honestly say that I feel remotely #blessed or #happyaboutit ~ but I can greet and make peace with both with somber reflection and respect to those memories and future ones.  And hope that in 5 years I am able to say the same.

oh New Mexico…you wacky state you…

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C.S. Lewis wrote, “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”  I think I am at that age…or maybe never left that age.  One or the other.  Traveling through new places always puts my brain into storyteller mode. 

This was my first time really exploring New Mexico from top to bottom.  It was also the first time my feet have ever touched Colorado soil.  The land was weird, wild, and whimsical to be honest…although I’m sure most of you that read this have been to both states, if not numerous times.  I utterly adore New Mexico now which baffles me because generally if there’s not water and loads of greenery near by I keep on moving asthetically.    

My first impressions of Colorado when we crossed the border included (1) the roads instantly became actually straight….and (2) it seemed like a lot of what I drove through was some weird mix of multiple ranches all on the honor system since it was one giant horse/cow commune with an inconvenient little dirt highway running through the middle of it.  Lord bless free rangery…I was just thankful I didn’t hit anything.  Oh and also…horses are not scared of dogs turns out….along with mountain goats.  Zero fear when faced with 100 pounds of fluff and ears barking. 

I’ve tried to start blogging about my trip several times now, but keep getting overwhelmed at how many crazy stories happened and where to begin.  It was an incredible trip, who’s significance was not lost on me.  I have honestly never laughed so much in my life throughout the 9 days.  A year ago I didn’t think I would be here.  I never could have imagined the thing that took place this year…both good and bad, and I am ok with that.  I’ll attempt to immortalize stories from the trip on here in the next few weeks.  Thank you again all for your thoughts and prayers over this year.  For the record I am very thankful and happy that I am here.   

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”  CS Lewis 

P.S.  These are some examples of blog post titles that could each legitimately be a title of a story that happened on this epic liver anniversary trip:

Getting kicked out of a Russian run trucker motel in Merkel, Texas

The tale of officers Swanson and Hildebrand and their pet tortoise Theresa

How to melt pyrex at 10,000 feet

Bears…Shmears…

Elk, moose, bear, mountain goat, horse, sheep, giraffe crossing

Why New Mexico has no straight roads

New Mexico, the state of WHY!?!?!

Starting a fire with petroleum jelly and burned biscuits

First impression of Roswell, NM: Aliens do exist….

The legend of the Roswell Cheese Factory

Can we buy that Jesus?

Very Large Array….really?  You don’t say. 

Stargazing illegally and a little girl named Aurora

Jimbo brown, the gator stomper

Oh crap big words…

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A year later thoughts – basic principle of life: love others…it’s that simple, but that hard – what’s the point of extending a life a year, gifting a year to someone who doesn’t deserve it, only to spend even a moment of that year entertaining hate.  Thoughts like this go through my head on a daily basis as most of you well know.

What makes hating someone feel so much easier or more natural regarding our gut behavior as adults?

As children, our gut response is happiness…babies in super markets waving at each other from their own mother’s carts.  What makes differences seem so threatening.  The fear of the unknown.  Control freaks are born.  When at any point in your entire life did you honestly feel completely in control of everything happening to you.  It never happens…not entirely.  So, technically what we desire, i.e. control, we never experience and never have experienced it…only the idea of it.  So, we desire the unknown and we both hate the unknown.  Therein lies the proverbial rub.

Love and hate have always been romanticized in literature.  If everyone loved entirely and completely then no one would have what is considered a “good” story.  So, part of us desires that struggle, that opposition, that broken path sign in the dirt pointing the way down the trail that leads to hatred. 

Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.  Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.  Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”  I agree with Dr. King, but I also think the word fear can be substituted here as well.  Yet, the dichotomy of this necessitates the human existence.  We treat these feelings as novel each time they arise and on a grander scale each time, yet nothing is new.  History is a jealous lady who prides herself on repetition.

Pretty words and thoughts…that’s all this is.  It changes nothing in and of itself.  Small acts of kindness, birthed from one’s soul, bestowed to the least of deserving does though. 

Am I talking about the election last night and subsequent response today?  Maybe.  Am I talking about myself deserving a new chance at life?  Maybe.  Am I rambling?  Probably.  It just seems to be a theme that has been building in my mind over the last few months.  People applaud me for being honest.  People attack me for being too open minded for their taste when they thought I was “on their side” of an issue or aspect of religion.  I’ve wracked my brain this morning sitting and thinking of who and where the most hateful words come from that I’ve experienced in life and the answer shook me to my core.  The very heart and soul of where love was supposed to be shown unconditionally failed me. 

I’ll admit I do not like arguments or contentious discussions because I truly don’t see any benefit they have other than letting both parties flex their egos and regurgitate thoughts and ideas someone else wrote in a book that they skimmed over once.  As the Buddha put it, “what we think, we become.”  As a lover of his philosophies on life and humanity in general I truly hope that is not true today for much of this country.  And as an aside, no offense Mr. Buddha, that dogma is typically true only for bad qualities and thoughts – not the good ones.  I’ve tried exhaustively this year to be upbeat, positive – take everything, every trial on my recovery in stride and prance around #blessed everywhere, but in reality it’s not that easy.  Maybe what we think, if we think it continuously over a long period of time we become for good, but what we think, briefly in a thoughtless hate filled second, we also become. 

That being said…maybe we all just try this and hope for the best:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Or more colloquially, as my Nana used to say (and probably most of our Nanas), “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say it at all.”