I recently saw a Thoreau quote given to me on an 18th birthday card: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” At 18, I thought it was kind of a silly card to give me. Of course, I was going to go in the direction of my dreams, I was going on a full scholarship to a college in Napa Valley, I was dating a cute girl… what could possibly go wrong? If you’d asked me to imagine my life at almost 33, I’d be doing some great fulfilling career, be contributing there and elsewhere, have some good hobbies and have lots of good friends.
Well… fast forward 15 years… and my life is certainly not what I would have imagined. Between Wednesday and Thursday, I received emails from an attorney, a notice of another legal setting in August, I got a call from my neuro oncologists office about rescheduling my summer follow up because my doctor was on call. I biked 37 miles on one of those days between two legal places and home to get things notarized and certified copies and set up a will signing. But then again, I also biked just as many miles to volunteer places on Thursday and went on the Austin marathon’s trash run on Wednesday and picked up tons of recycling in ditches. (By the way the google maps app is awesome on a bike because it tells you voice if you’re making a wrong turn… I know that sounds a little pathetic but when you get lost a lot… I start to love technology)
All I ever wanted to at 18 and at 32 t to do was to contribute to both those close to me and to those less fortunate than me but I wanted a lot more independence chemically, financially and otherwise than I have. I have limited income and it comes from an insurance and somehow being raised in a culture where it’s my job to have a job that’s the primary breadwinner, this has been tough. At the intellectual level I understand the position both the insurance that’s paying the bill and the medical kind I can’t get because of pre existing condition. Logic doesn’t make blows to the self-esteem easier.
And if that doesn’t mess with my self-esteem I follow some forums on brain tumors both cancerous and some about epilepsy issues. One of them had a study this week about hypergraphia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergraphia) about how people with epilepsy have a compulsion to write and me, a guy who has called this blog his therapy wondered if even his therapy was a symptom of his disease. (Hypersexuality was in the study too for those who want to make a George Clooney joke).
But in the middle of wondering if not having the life I imagined, I received a letter from one of the authors of one of the articles about that marathon win. I’ve asked all the ones who actually interviewed me to send me an autographed copy for a scrapbook I’m making for Kiana. They have all done so and sent a nice note but this one came with a really long one that made me hope that maybe I am still contributing something http://www.nj.com/
ledger-dalessandro/ index.ssf/2013/03/ marathoner_with_brain_cance r_inspires_wins.html?
And then I was tagged in the blog by Alexander Nichols http://liveepicbeepic.com/texas-spartan-race-with-iram-leon/, the guy who kicked my ass and guided me through the first day of Spartan race… And he was wrong on me not needing much guidance on Sunday, I got lost twice but the volunteers called me back.
But still, there are those who are fortunate enough to pull off the life they imagined. I am not one of them but I’m trying/accepting the changes. It’s what you have to do unless you’re incredibly fortunate, just to learn to roll with the punches and as often as you can sometimes with logic and othertimes with emotion, to punch back. I have made my career as best as I know how for now as full time dad and volunteer. It’s tiny little things sometimes that you learn to reimagine. Kiana’s school picnic got cancelled because of heavy and so instead of that we have been making a puzzle all weekend. This was the first weekend that we didn’t have a race since the Marathon win (coincidentally I ran the longest I’ve ran since then, 15 miles and it turns out going from Marathon mode to sprint mode and back… hurts. Actually I was planning on doing 15 but got lost and was 2 miles away from where I wanted to be when the watch said 15 so I walked/jogged most of the last two and suddenly I wished phones didn’t get ruined with moisture. Actually I forgot my ipod yesterday as well and running during the rain reminds you of the rawness of when humans literally ran for survival, for the joy and necessity of one foot in front of the other). Some of those races were already scheduled but some were just gifts because of that. But this weekend we went to an Autism Speaks 8K where Kiana enthusiastically handed out water to runners at the finish line but at the start line she got to see that some people only had the option of being in a stroller for a race. A few people mentioned I’d have to a stroller that big to keep running with Kiana but that won’t happen. I’ll never do it once she gets tired of it and I’ll slow down to run next to her until I can’t keep up since I don’t want her ever slowing down for me.
Thoreau wrote his thoughts in the 1800’s but two of the most fun races I’ve done recently have been Greek Themed… the Spartan race and the marathons. So perhaps, it’s time to go back a little but farther to when