Friday, December 24, 2021

The Solace of Fortitude

Life moves at a flash. It is easy to blink and miss something coming or going. I wrote this essay on 12/9, a day when I had steroid shots in my neck due to spine issues and neuropathy.

The details of how my neck got jacked up are unimportant, but this was not due to something I missed. It was due to me lifting too many weights past age 40 and asking my children to punch me in the stomach despite knowing what that did to Houdini years ago. I am no man of steel.

That's okay. I used to think life was about being happy, and I dreamed of being Luke Skywalker or Clark Kent. I have learned that it is about becoming healthier over time, being kind, and exchanging gratitude with others. It has taken me over 47 years to get very far down this path.

That's okay. It is easy to become so self-involved that we miss the sort of blinkworthy magical events that might form precious memories if given the opportunity.

That's okay. More memories will come. All we can do is try our best. Yoda gets this one wrong. Yoda gets a lot wrong.

That's okay. More wisdom will come. If you are receptive, lessons find you through teachers and loved ones and songs and books and dreams. Just pay attention as best you can. Try to observe without passing judgment or making guesses. If you can.

Once you can be at peace with all of those things, remember to breathe into your belly instead of your chest, and start walking. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. If not you, who? If not now, when? Embarrassment is not a terminal illness.

Years of hardship and struggle have provided me with the gift of peace. I would not wish them on anyone. Over time I learned to lean into them, getting a bit stronger bit by bit. As my old friend Ryan Franklin taught me to say, "Crawl, walk, run." I've modified it a bit: "Crawl, walk, run, fly." That's what we all want, right?

When you have been to Helheim and back, with no permanent injuries other than a few scars and fillings and tattoos, you can call yourself fortunate. I am very fortunate.

Life is a gift. With time, most harm from incidents and accidents fade, if we work and allow healing to occur. Atlas was cursed to hold up the heavens as a form of punishment after the Gods vanquished the Titans. He is welcome to shrug all he wants. The heavens hold up themselves. No one has told him yet. It is kind of funny to watch him struggle, although admittedly not very nice.

I think I will go listen to some Remy Zero. Sunshine feels good. It is a good day to be alive. Every day is.


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