Sunday, May 1, 2022

New Beginnings

Introducing: The NEW 2 Live Freely E-Newsletter/Blog

Continuing the tradition of the 2 Live Freely blog since 2008

Ed Helvey

Hello Everyone and welcome to the Introductory issue of the 2 Live Freely blog/e-newsletter. Today is May 1, 2022 and I've titled this inaugural article – New Beginnings!

You may be a subscriber to the 2 Live Freely Blog I've been writing and posting in for 14 years. You may be on my email list and have never read any of my nearly 1,000 blog posts. Or, maybe you just came across this newsletter/blog through some browsing around the web. Regardless, I hope you will give it a try, like it and stay tuned in.

First, I plan to cover a lot of ideas, tips, philosophies and other topics that are important to the topic of living free and being happy. That's been my mantra for the past decade or more. I haven't been writing a lot during the past three years or so due to . . .

Second, writer's block having set in. That is a terrible thing for anyone who likes to express himself or herself in writing to deal with. I was stricken with what was diagnosed as a terminal case of one of the deadliest forms of cancer almost three years ago. I started writing somewhat prolifically during the treatment process I was going through. But, that was mostly reporting on what I was experiencing during that period. I finally fell away from that topic. But, thankfully, I obviously survived due to a number of miracles and the marvels of the modern medical arts and science.

Third, I have no intention of telling you how you should change your life to realize and gain the personal freedom and happiness that you are, apparently, seeking if you're drawn to and will be reading my upcoming articles. It's not my objective or intention to tell you what to do. What I will be doing is sharing ideas, tips and philosophies from my own research and experiences. Will they all work for you? I don't know. That will be for you to determine IF you choose to try any of them. However, I would really like to have you tell me what's going on in your life so I can learn more from you. I'd even like to share your experiences, tips, ideas and philosophies with me and the other readers. I may invite you to be a guest on this blog and on the podcast that I'm planning to accompany it.

I will be sharing who I am. You may think it's about my ego and blowing my own horn. But, frankly, I'm just another of the nearly eight billion humans currently inhabiting this particle of “space dust,” also known as the third rock from the sun. I came from nowhere and when I leave this planet, I'll be going to I know not where. As a young thinking, 77 year old, two time cancer survivor, I've had an opportunity over the past couple of years, as I went through very aggressive treatment and surgery, to look back at my lifetime. Most of us don't realize all we've experienced, achieved and overcome to become the people we are today. Of course, you may be in, what I call, the third-half of your life. Or, you may be in the middle of your life journey. Or, you may be in the beginning phase of this thing we call life. Whichever the case, it's my hope and intention to share who I am today and the path that brought me here, including the ups and the downs. Life is full of them.

So, in the next few episodes of this blog or podcast, however you decide to consume it, you'll learn about my biographical history. The good, the bad, and possibly some of the ugly. From this, you'll have a basis to build your thoughts about what you may be able to learn from me and the “wisdom” of my age. If anything fits, you may try it on. If it seems like it doesn't work for you, then you can pass. However, I would urge you to take the time to reminisce about your own life, from the beginning to the current time, regardless of your current age. Everyone is unique. And, I hope as this blog/podcast progresses you'll be willing to share some of your insights.

Additionally, I launched a Facebook group a few years ago called the Living Free Project. Perhaps you're already a member of the group. If not, I'd make the suggestion you join it. It's a place to share ideas, ask questions, learn about how others are seeking and enjoying various facets of personal freedom and happiness. It's only been sporadically active over the past couple of years. I think it's time for it to become a voice for everyone and anyone who feels they are missing out on much of what life offers each of us.

And, finally, while I was recently viewing a YouTube video by a mid-50 year old, single, full-time, woman RVer, Carolyn's RV Life, I heard a piece of music that really spoke to me. It was in the middle of her nearly 30 minute program and it was simply the music with beautiful nature scenes as she gets to enjoy them through her freedom loving, nomadic lifestyle. The song is titled “Supposed To.” I found her source for the song and I'm including the link. I'm planning to license the song as part of this 2 Live Freely site. I believe it will relate to most of us. It's an interesting statement on our society. Of course, it doesn't relate to everyone. I've had some friends who believe it's only about regrets. I know it sure grabbed me. I've virtually always pushed the envelope throughout my life. And, yet, as I listened to it, I realized just how conditioned I was to do what I was supposed to. So, here is the link: Supposed To

I'll be interested in your take on the song. How does it impact you and your thinking about your own life?

That's all for this New Beginning article. Watch for the podcast version if you'd prefer to listen, I'll have the link here on this site. And, if you're not a subscriber, I hope you'll take the initiative to click on the subscribe button and be a regular reader/listener. And, I'd really appreciate it if you'd help me grow this 2 Live Freely blog and podcast by sharing it with your friends. Over the years this site has been read in over 100 countries and I'm hoping to gain that kind of readership again.

Live free and be happy, EH

Monday, February 7, 2022

Keep The Faith

This post is going to be a little different than my typical articles. A few days ago a friend of mine sent me an email with a video attached to it. It was titled Keep The Faith. I personally don't recognize the man telling the story. If someone does, I'd appreciate you filling me in and letting me know.

The story moved me. I took me back to a time when I was in my mid 20s and had completed four years of college and a bachelors degree and an additional year of graduate school and had earned a masters degree. I was a young business man and I was going through another life change as I entered the service to our country to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War Era. So, while the presenter of this story is, obviously, younger than me, which you'll pick up on as he relates the story, I relate to what he is saying because I had experienced the attitudes that he relates.

There's not much else to say because I don't want to steal the presenter's thunder. But, those of you of a certain age (mostly from the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomer Generation and the very early Generation X) will be able to relate to this. You will likely remember when this was pretty much the overall attitude in the U.S. regardless of what part of the country you were from. For those of you who are younger than the group I just described, this is the way our country once was. It certainly wasn't perfect. But, it was a lot better, in my mind, than much of what we're witnessing and experiencing in all sectors of our society.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

I've Been Deported

I was deported on Monday afternoon.

Yep! That's the way the very professional and efficient yet, cute and fun nurses (and not young teenybopper women, either) at the Winchester Medical Center add a little political humor into the procedure of removing my chemo infusion chest port. They said I was being "deported."

It was a short procedure and they put me out under a very light anesthesia. I was, more or less, awake again before they moved me out of the procedure room back to the prep/recovery room. They kept me in recovery for about another hour or so.

For those readers who have had an infusion port installed in your chest for chemotherapy treatments for cancer, you know what this port is and what it's all about. It makes the patient's life much easier because the nurses and technicians don't have to keep looking for a good vein in your hand or arm to infuse the toxic chemotherapy drugs into your circulatory system. After a while, it frequently gets hard for them to locate a good vein. It can become quite painful for many patients. But, the port is surgically (a minor procedure) installed in the patient's chest. Once installed, it produces a small lump in the chest wall. When the port is not being utilized, it must be flushed every six to eight weeks with a saline solution that must be done by a nurse. So, if it's no longer in use, it does become an inconvenience. However, the oncologists like to keep them installed, typically, for a couple of years just in case there is a recurrence and they need to go through another course of chemotherapy. Mine was in nearly 2 1/2 years. Here is what the little port device looks like. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me!

If you've never heard of this short sentence made up entirely of two letter words, it's time you did.

Over the past few weeks I've been talking about “New Beginnings” and how I'm going through this challenging phase of my life. Everyone either has, is or will go through some very difficult times. Unfortunately, some of these events and experiences are going to be traumatic.

Someone once asked Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, if there were any people who didn't face problems. He said, and I paraphrase, he knew of a place where there were a lot of people who didn't have problems. Let me take you there. So, the person went with Dr. Peale who led him to a cemetery. The person at first was stunned and then thought he was making fun of him. Dr. Peale assured him he was serious, none of the people in that cemetery or any other cemetery had any problems. The only people who have no problems reside in graves. So, if you don't want to join these people, you better get down on your knees and pray for God to give you problems.

We start having problems when we are small children. Our parents help us learn to cope with and solve our small problems. As we get older the problems get more difficult. And, of course, when we become adults, we have to deal with problems and situations that often seem insurmountable. Everybody has problems of one kind or another. I won't bore you with a list of the many kinds of problems we all face during our lifetimes. It's also said that God, or the Universe or life won't give you any problems that you can't handle. That doesn't mean they will be easy. It just means it's up to us to resolve the problems.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

New Beginnings – 2022 – Part 3

Three weeks and three new articles. I'm patting myself on the back! I hope I'm back on line again.

This is going to be a short article today. Winter has set in here in the area of West Virginia known as the Potomac Highlands. It's where I've been staying with a friend while I've been recovering from my bout with cancer. I'm very lucky to have terrific and very supportive friends in various places and, certainly, my friend Carolyn has gone way above the call to help me.

It's snowing quite hard here today and into about midday tomorrow. It's quite cold with the current temperature registering at 16 degrees and an estimated accumulation of snow between 9” to 12” and possibly as much as 18.” I grew up in northern New Jersey and we had some cold temperatures and significant snow accumulations there when I was a kid. And, then I lived in Syracuse, NY and I have to be honest, snow, lots and lots of snow was a way of life along with sub-0 temperatures. We had some serious winters when I lived in the Washington, DC area and for the ten years I lived in Annapolis, MD. About every five years or so, we would have a very serious winter in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia when I lived outside Winchester. But, while some of my friends look forward to winter and snow, I have experienced probably about 30 blizzards during my life and frankly, I'd much rather see the snow from a distance along with the cold temperatures. I'm perfectly content to watch snow in TV shows or in movies. I don't need to experience it in person any longer.

Part of my New Beginnings is to start researching and searching for a new region to base my operations from and I'd like it to be a location with a moderate or temperate climate. So, I've been looking at places around the U.S. during the last several years I was traveling, prior to being inconveniently stopped from my travels by my cancer challenge. But, I'll be looking again for the right place once I can get back on the road.

Monday, January 10, 2022

New Beginnings – 2022 – Part 2

This is my second article of 2022 and you'll notice it has the same title as the first article, except I extended it as Part 2. I've been thinking, researching and contemplating this entire past week about what I said last week. Something sparked in my mind and heart about my thoughts and feelings. But, to start things off, let me give you a long quote I discovered during my research.

When someone you love dies, you are given the gift of "second chances". Their eulogy is a reminder that the living can turn their lives around at any point. You’re not bound by the past; that is who you used to be. You’re reminded that your feelings are not who you are, but how you felt at that moment. Your bad choices defined you yesterday, but they are not who you are today. Your future doesn’t have to travel the same path with the same people. You can start over. You don’t have to apologize to people that won’t listen. You don’t have to justify your feelings or actions, during a difficult time in your life. You don’t have to put up with people that are insecure and want you to fail. All you have to do is walk forward with a positive outlook, and trust that God has a plan that is greater than the sorrow you left behind. The people of quality that were meant to be in your life won’t need you to explain the beauty of your heart. They already understand what being human is----a roller coaster ride of emotions during rainstorms and sunshine, sprinkled with moments when you can almost reach the stars.

Shannon L. Alder

Substitute the first and second sentence with, When you die and are reborn, you are given the gift of new beginnings. Your eulogy is a reminder that the living (you in your rebirth), can turn your life around at any point. With those two changed sentences, this quote is exactly what I'm feeling as I leave the past behind after being stricken down by my cancer experience and the ensuing battle. I don't know if I can describe what happened the morning of August 18, 2019 as having experienced death and coming back. I know there is a short period of time that I have no recollection of. I don't know if it was seconds or minutes. I don't recall seeing my life pass before me. I don't recall seeing a long tunnel with a white light at the end. I just don't remember anything for that brief period of time. And, of course, I was completely disoriented when I regained consciousness or grasped life again, whichever the case may have been.

What I do know is that a lot of things changed. To be perfectly honest, if friends, family, business associates or new people see me today, the only thing they will likely notice is that I'm slimmer because I lost about 20% of my weight (and, unfortunately, muscle mass). Otherwise, externally, there is little about the changes I described in the previous article that one can see. The voice I've used to speak and to provide voice-overs for numerous clients is still the same. I still have the knowledge, creativity, any talent I may have been blessed with and the skills I've learned and honed through over 60 years of adolescent and adult experiences. For all practical intents and purposes, externally and experientially, I'm still me. But, as I described, there is a new persona residing inside this older and, now, somewhat modified body.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

New Beginnings – 2022

I'm writing this on January 1, 2022. As you can see, if you look at my last blog article, this is my first new article in a year. The year 2021 was very similar to 2020. They were both years that weren't. I mean, for me, they weren't noteworthy. Many things happened during 2021, but from my perspective, they were mainly negative things. But, I really don't want to focus and dwell on the negative. A few years ago, after writing this blog for about ten years, I began facing writers block. My articles became fewer and far between. I picked up again for a short time in 2019 when I was stricken down with my battle with cancer and I wrote almost daily for a few months about my experiences.

Let me be clear, I'm 76 years old. I'll be 77 years old in a few months. I try to not dwell on my age, however, due to many things that have occurred over the past couple of years, most notably, my battle and, so far, my victory over a near fatal bout with a pretty rare form of cancer, I have begun to accept my aging reality. You may have heard older people express the aging process as experiencing all kinds of aches, pains, physical changes, lower levels of energy and stamina. But, at the same time, they say their minds are acting like they are still in their 30s or 40s. I can relate to that.

However, some of us are dealt a variety of challenges. Some of those challenges result with life ending. During the past couple of years I've lost at least 12 friends from various facets of my life. Some of these friends were considerably older than me. Some were around my age. Still others were younger than me. Meanwhile, some of us survive after being dealt strokes, heart attacks, hip, knee and other joint replacements. Others have to deal with issues like diabetes, MS, Lupis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other chronic and autoimmune diseases. And, some, like me, must face the “Big C,” cancers of all kinds. I'm actually a two time cancer survivor, but I'm still going. In many cases, probably most cases, these medical issues are surprises. They blind-side us and, like it or not, we must deal with them.