The early Christmas gift I referenced from my roommate in the last blog was a new laptop, a MacBook specifically. If you think all of my travels are self financed lets just say the previous laptop was older than brain surgery. I actually joined the "smart" world back when brain problems started because one of my neuropsychologists recommended an iPad and some scientifically developed apps that would help restore or at least reveal the memory and language issues. I could work on it in a way I could turn it on in a car or waiting room faster than a laptop or even pen and paper couldn't quite provided. I'm old or old school enough to where it took brain cancer for me to get internet access at home so that I could more properly research it. And it was a year with the iPad before I'd get an iPhone, smart phones still something I'm suspect of when at restaurants everyone at a table is on their phone instead of talking. I know there's entire classes on emoticons and non verbal communication but I still like the sound of people's voices and I don't quite understand the crowd where that seems like too much work across a table. I've joked with the people who have sent me handwritten holiday cards that I am confused as to how officially like it. But at the end of the day I love stuff like that... perhaps revealing that I am old soul even if its an immature one whose letter to Santa is questionable.
But in trying to make the transition from a cursed dell to a blessed Apple there was more emotion than I was ready for (I might have hinted to anyone in the world that my next computer would be a mac from the sticker I'd put on over that Dell). Transfusing the videos was relatively easy since I rarely do video. The pictures were overwhelming to say the least because they went back exactly one decade to 2004 when I got my first digital camera. They say it's a good exercise for all of us to predict where your life will be in 10 years... There are zero elements I would have gotten right. I mean I definitely wanted to be somebody but had I known what the world was going to have land on me, perhaps I should have been more specific. But there were pictures of the South Pacific, of Australia, of Peru, of Kiana literally from day one with both of her parents throughout the 8 years that have gone too fast till a few days before with her and I. Perhaps reflecting that I used to be a yearbook photographer or just how cute I think my kid is there were literally just slightly over 40 thousand pictures. For the guy who quotes songs on here regularly there were a few thousand songs as well... (If you think I bought all of those on I tunes, I ran over bridges in several cities in November; pick your favorite and I'll get you a good deal.) But the songs and pictures reminded me all the laughs I've had in the last 10 years including the 4 with cancer even if they were filled with cheap music, fast drinks and live women ;).
But the real challenge I created from my computer ignorance of apple or perhaps computers period was that I didn't set up the gmail connection right and chose to delete all emails that were archived. Short version is that how I did it erased every single email I've ever kept archived. While tons that were spam or junk, they were however all together in the new program. I would spend two hours looking through them and restoring some but I could only view 20 at a time so it was not entirely pleasant. Actually it was an exercise in resentment... Not in the English meaning of resentment but in the Latin origin which translates into sense once more or feel again (ie reinstall).
The simple truth is I didn't keep a single email ever before brain surgery. I used to have photographic memory back then... perhaps I still do, the film is just gone now. But I'd kept many from the divorce in what can be best described as confused intention. The simple truth is that my parents were not together for very long so I know only formalities (and one obvious reality) about how they interacted that is not told retroactively. So while it was tempting to burn every picture, notes etc between Kiana's mother and I (we were high school sweethearts who had been together for 14 years), I packed it all up in a box so that Kiana could look through it someday; it's still there and if she ever gets the curiosity of seeing her parents flirt, she'll have. It's sat undisturbed. While I hadn't read them since then and the emotions had been put aside if not forgotten, I also kept all the emails for the divorce proceedings, some of that was for memory reasons, some of it was legal reasons and some of it was because I wanted Kiana to know that I tried and that her mother had quit very easily and see it in each of our words. I am grateful that the specificity of self perceived righteous indignation will not be necessary and it's a good thing it'll be impossible.
But there were many many other emails, from various relationships and different points. It was comforting to see some old emails from friends and family that had sent some very heart felt sentiments when this journey started, some were tough to see how the relationships had shifted, changed, faded just because of circumstances. I still have friends from every stage in my life and I"m a fan of keeping them. Many (most) of these blog entries have nods, winks, nudges to people that to spell them out would probably be too long but they usually get it but it's also a way for me to test my memory when I go back and read them. But those nods were all spelled out in emails written to myself and now it will be only memory to test. Oddly enough it was harder to find the more recently received emails because there's so much more emails I "subscribe" to now. I do wish I could find all the funny personal ones both new and old because it seems a little bit of insanity runs in my circle of friends; unfortunately, instead of running, insanity took a stroll near me and got to know me pretty personally.
After spending a couple of hours going through all the emails, I made a strange decision, I erased most of the ones that I had sat through and found except for ones that had possible measurable ramifications to the future (i.e. legal decrees, medical records). At the end of the best year of my life with the least medical appointments since 2010, I realized while I would have never gone and done neither brain cancer nor the deleting of all those emails, well it had happened and it was an opportunity to rest. I try to live in the present and for the future, no matter how good or bad the past has been. I'm proud of my running times but I am more proud of the fact they are still improving. I am proud of Kiana's progress but I want to keep challenging her. It's why I took on new challenges this year like my first triathlon in which I placed despite coming in 114th on the swim (but perhaps showing some awareness, realizing how bad I was at the swim, tomorrow I'm doing my first duathlon, run-bike-run).
And I'm starting to think about New Year's resolutions as the year resets. I achieved 6 of the 8 for 2014 (I've never achieved them all in any year). The biggest one that I had made was one I didn't get to which was to try to get to the Grand Canyon this year... there was never a time where it was necessary, it didn't quite feel right at any point either thought a couple were close.
So while I'd never kept a diary, the history of the last four years will primarily be this blog, social media, pictures and songs. Most pictures I take never are seen by anyone but I"m grateful for a bit of a photography background. In simple frankness, you can tell exactly how much something messed with my state of mind by how many songs are associated with it. So the memories aren't going to be totally gone but they will be filtered a little more retroactively and only in non verbal communication.
As importantly, I also used all my frequent flyer miles to do something I haven't done in way too long, I got a plane ticket to the northeast for New Years in the first trip in quite a while that has no race or anything to with cancer. I can't ever stop training but I think it'll be the longest I go without having to set an alarm clock in well over year. I'll be doing many things and catching many places but one of the ones I'm excited about is a return to NYC. While I try to take the wisdom of Elton John and rarely do things twice because there' more to be seen than can ever be seen and more to do than can ever be done, I'm excited about this trip for many many reasons. But one highlight is that it's going to be a sweet moment when I step there that it will become the place I've taken the most trips to surpassing Duke. That's not superstitious, just a simple acknowledgement or gratefulness that the place I traveled to for cancer is not where I will have visited most frequently. This started with 22 months of straight medical appointments and this year there were only 4 months that had any which is a relief. Anyway, all the details aren't worked out yet but who wants to bet me that I can find a girl to kiss at midnight? In 2010, when this all started I didn't go out for New Years because that had been the best year of my life back then (I've had many good years but to call one the absolute best takes a few special things) and back when 2010 ended with 2011 brain cancer stuff coming... I thought it would be (and it was) a much much worse year. But here at the end of the best year of my life, I'm excited about the transition believing 2015 will also be a great year and we'll find a way for it to come in with a bang. And it's an interesting thing that by the emails being gone that a whole lot of the past, the details of some of those dreams are erased. But whether they were great dreams or nightmares, if you focus too much on past dreams, in my book that's getting in the habit of oversleeping into life. So I want to keep focusing on waking up to making new dreams.