Cart Wheels and Shaved Ice

January 11, 2009

Recently, some abnormal test results coupled with my ever-confusing chronic illnesses commanded a look into the eyes of my own mortality. Of course, this sounds rather desperate, as though I fully expected my physician to bring in a representative from the Make-a-Wish foundation, willing to extend the age limit to twenty-nine because my situation was so tragic; even my most frightening research results didn’t turn up that sort of impending doom. My interview with mortality was more of the “holy-crap-I-really-DO-have-a-serious-illness-that-can-significantly-shorten-my-lifespan-and-with-the-option-of-medications-that-can-also-kill-me” variety of which I’ve become increasingly familiar in the past seven years.

Research and a discussion with my primary care physician helped to assuage some of my fears, but ultimately, I do have significant health concerns that must be handled with care and will continue to remind me that I am not invincible. This is troubling to me at times, particularly when I am [self-]sleep-deprived and researching such matters in an attempt to be an empowered patient. However, in the light of day, with the help of a dose of rational thought, I find gratitude, again, in what I’ve learned through my experience with illness beginning so early in adulthood. The truth is, all of us are mortal. We could die today or live for over a century, but it’s easy to forget that when we’re young, and forgetting ones mortality (or drugging oneself up with notions of reincarnation or a better life after death) makes floating through life all that more likely, something I feel is a tragic waste.

This has been a common theme in my writing and reflections over the past year, this focus on accepting life’s brevity and living accordingly. I suppose that was my greatest and most liberating realization in 2008, though, so its frequent exploration is to be expected. Thankfully, I recognize signs of my traditionally slow personal growth in this area; therefore, it appears my broken record syndrome isn’t in vain.

So as 2009 gets underway, I’m resolving to live with the phrase “carpe diem” at the forefront of my mind, drinking in as much of life’s beauty and wonder and mess as possible. Beyond that, I have some physical-health-related goals (complete the 100 push-up and 200 sit-up challenges, build up to walking/jogging at least three hours per week, eat more plant-based foods, sleep 7-9 hours per night, indulge in alcoholic beverages very rarely and only one per sitting), financial goals (kick my daily Starbucks habit, build up a four-digit savings balance, pay down credit card balances), and personal enrichment goals (arrive early for social engagements, learn a few songs on piano, become a competent ukulele player, practice flute regularly, write daily, re-learn advanced mathematical concepts, read several books).

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One Response to “Cart Wheels and Shaved Ice”

  1. Call me Ishmael Says:

    I’m here.

    I think you called me, and that’s no surprise, since my English teachers have always been the one’s who’re calling, endless and a little cacophonous. Imagine the little whirls in the sick discharge of a cigarette at midnight: it’s not that mature dance that rings and flips, a grey-haze ballet. It’s what happens when I pick up the cigarette from its ashtray grave, when I have little crooked neurons lusting for to-bac-co. Or it’s what happens when my human hand gives way to a little human shaking: it’s that natural thing, that ballet broken, which signifies my humanity. The disruption in the swirls, the reminder that at one point, if I grow up and get old, wrinkled like a poet, and leathery from the smoking, I’ll eventually never see the acrid, fluid ballet anymore, because I’ll shake so much, a walking carcinogen, whose furious life has left him in a constant state of reverberation, prohibiting solaced statuary positions. I think that, essentially, I’ll be shaking, old, cold, and leather, and I’ll not be disillusioned by my divinity. I’ll shake, the smoke’s dance will screech into a fury, an angry boulder crashing through the roof of the theater, squishing a troupe of happy dancers, and I’ll think, “My (God)! How human of me! I’m killing happy dancers (people!), in my private thoughts tonight!”

    It’ll be a joyous thing, eventually, when I’m past spiting myself for my humanity. But I’ll know, oh yes, that my rapture is only pearly egoism ejaculating in inappropriate places, soiling pure intent, because I’ll only be joyous for knowing that I conquered fear of my humanity. Not joyous for knowing my humanity. Which won’t do at all, because I’ll know that my egoism, which is essentially a reverberation itself, like my shaking hands, is only the result of my continued belief in my own divinity.

    I’m gone.


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