I had a heart attack in October of 2004. I was 41. During my recuperation period, I realized, among other things, how unprepared I was should the worst have happened. There were too many things that were unsaid, undone, unfinished.
I left the hospital with a resolve to put everything in order. All my papers and documents are now properly labeled and filed. My old clothes are in storage or have been given away. My books and CD’s are arranged according to title, author or subject. I’m back to work, I’m seeing my friends. I try to watch what I eat and I now have a gym membership.
While I’m glad about these changes, things still don’t quite seem right.
I had a major car accident a few years ago. The car ended up inverted at a 45 degree angle to the ground, a few feet away from a deep ravine. I was not wearing a seatbelt. I got out without a bruise. I immediately came up with all these resolutions about focusing on the important things and taking advantage of what seemed to be a new beginning.
A few years later, I had turned into a stressed, tired, cynical, bored person being wheeled into the Emergency Room by excited medical interns. So much for that new beginning.
So now, I have yet another lease on life. While I’m starting this one with very organized files, I’m not sure what to do with it yet.
On one end, I don’t want to make any more resolutions I can’t keep. On another, I don’t want to go back to the old habits and find myself at 50 still living off the remnants of my potential.
Right now, It just feels like I’m a transient in my own life. I’m trying things on for size without any commitment to stay , keep or buy. It’s very strange really. Seems similar to something I read about plane crash survivors. They go back to their lives with a super heightened awareness that makes them feel like they’re watching their own lives. Maybe our senses get turned up to maximum levels just at the moment that we face death and it takes some time before they’re calibrated back to normal levels.
I suspect I’m going through some weird process of which we won’t see the end for some time. While the process may end with the discovery of new ways to make myself miserable, it may also end with a breakthrough towards a more meaningful and relevant life. With my luck, I’m probably going to be run over by a ten-wheeler the day after that kind of break through :-)