The Meaning of Life – No, I’m Not Kidding!

Some day I have to figure out how my mind works. Not my brain. I have that figure out. Seven years of school better have taught me something. No, what I can’t figure out is how my mind works. That unfathomable piece of consciousness that works on its own stream and might or might not let us in.

Monday I woke up with a sore back. Check that. I woke up with a back that hurt like all the gods on Olympus and in the Coliseum (or wherever the Roman gods lived) were mad at it. I called my doctor; he worked me into his schedule, poked, prodded, and ordered some x-rays and gave me some muscle relaxers. Monday night I took some muscle relaxers and Tuesday woke up and did my normal morning stuff, sore but not in outright pain. Tuesday night I took more muscle relaxers and Wednesday woke up even less sore and certain I wasted my doctor’s time on Monday. Wednesday afternoon he called and told me I have three compression fractures in my spine. All of a sudden I can’t sit still I’m in such pain.

Normally I walk with a cane. I’m not too weak to walk but if I don’t use some support I wobble. In fact, without it I look for all the world like I’ve had one bourbon too many. (Yes, I used to also believe that was a contradiction in terms but you really can have one too many. Try not to spread it around.) Every morning I walk a couple of miles and if it’s not raining I go to the pool for an hour or so. To get to my pool I go out the door, through the breezeway, across the courtyard and up a flight of stairs. Since the stairs have a railing and to get to them is a short walk I usually leave my cane behind. Yesterday, before I found out that my back is living on borrowed time, on the way in from the pool I detoured down the front walk to the mailbox. The mailman was just dropping off the day’s haul but he hung around long enough to comment that it looked a little early to be “hitting it” (aka “the bottle”). I immediately felt bad to be out in public like that. It was only after he was pulling away for the next mailbox that I realized how little I had to be feeling foolish of.

Why do we put so much stock into what others say? Nothing changed in my back between Tuesday and Wednesday other than the doctor confirming what other doctors had already told me several years ago. I hadn’t removed the cap from the Marker’s Mark for a couple of weeks when I fortified the glaze for a steak I put on the grill. Yet I was willing to change how I felt, indeed how I was, based on what others – one supposedly learned and one supposedly a federal employee – had to say. (How many people work for the federal government? About half of them.) (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Quite some time ago I found this, printed it, framed, it and took it to heart. Since then I’ve Lifechanged. I got an incurable condition. I got cancer. I beat cancer. I still have an incurable condition. Through it all I see this every morning. I have to. It’s on the wall above my toilet tank. It’s a great place for a bit of inspiration. At first I misinterpreted it to mean that if we want to live life to its fullest we have to physically beat the odds. We have to literally skid in sideways. Not so! As long as we don’t give in we won’t give up. I sort of like that expression. Maybe I’ll hang that on the wall too.

As long as you don’t give in, you won’t give up.

That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention
of arriving in an attractive and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
“Woo hoo, what a ride!”

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