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.
Sadly, in some cases, these medical conditions result in lifestyle changes that become permanent. While others are able to overcome most (though seldom all) of the debilitating impacts. The medical arts and sciences have made huge advances over the last few decades. However, we're still not free of these medical conditions. And, periodically, God, the Universe, Nature, destiny or however you desire to believe, decides to throw a new curve ball into our world. The latest one is named COVID-19 and we already are experiencing a couple of variations on the theme.
Add to the medical challenges, we face a myriad of other challenges. People in various parts of our country and other parts of the world are facing wild fires, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, floods, blizzards, wind storms, thunder storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme heat and cold and other natural and weather related events. Then we can add human created issues such as politics and political divisiveness, crime, war, riots and other forms of chaos. There is more, but I don't want to beat a dead horse. We hear about them everyday in the news media. If you ever notice, most of the news, radio broadcasts, TV and streaming news programs give you a half hour or an hour of news, mostly all negative except for the final two or three minutes where they present a positive or “feel good” story to help release our minds from the stress of all the negativity they just dumped on us.
New Beginnings . . .
It's time to STOP! We must stop allowing all this negative “STUFF” (I'm being nice, the word I'm thinking of still begins with S, but only has four letters) to keep dragging us down. As I said earlier, I'm 76 going on 77. About two and a half years ago, I sat in a hospital bed in the Emergency Room Observation Unit at the Winchester (Virginia) Medical Center. A doctor was explaining to me what had taken me down to literally the edge of death and had me in this room. It was a form of cancer that represents less than 1% of all new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. each year. It is a pretty rare occurrence, however, it's also very deadly. The doctor was telling me they could put me into palliative care to make my quality of life as good as possible. He also told me I should get my personal affairs in order as quickly as possible. You just don't want to hear this. I said to him, “I'm on a 46 year plan. I have people to meet, places to go and things to do. So, let's get moving.” I said further, “I'm actually running a conference 25 minutes from this hospital room by phone and text. How soon can you release me so I can get back over there and carry out my obligations.” They stabilized me and released me late that afternoon. I returned to the hotel and ran the rest of the conference. That was a positive move for me.
Whether you are strong in your religious beliefs and believe in miracles or not, it's irrelevant to me. I am, what is often described as spiritual, but not religious. However, I do believe in miracles. I have experienced a series of miracles. The result of those miracles is that I am alive today, two and a half years later and cancer free. Two days from now, January 3, 2022, will be two years since that doctor in the Emergency Room Observation Unit, who advised me to get my personal affairs in order, had me on the operating table for about ten hours. He removed a significant part of my internal anatomy. But, along with it, he removed the cancer that he said was going to end my life. Of course, the radiation treatments and the chemotherapy were also instrumental in this series of miracles.
So, I'm now looking at a New Beginning. I've experienced something that only other cancer patients who have experienced what I've been through can relate to. Through this two and a half years I've changed mentally, physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. There is a new persona residing inside this 76 year old body. I'm working very hard at learning who this new persona is and getting to know him. I liken this experience and all the changes I've been going through to a secular rebirth, being born again, but not from a religious perspective. I will repeat myself, I'm looking at a New Beginning.
Each day I realize more and more how important it is to embrace this day as the ONLY day we may have. It's great to have plans and goals for the future. And, perhaps, when we are younger, this may be a bit more practical. However, it really doesn't matter if you're 8 or 80, the only time we can count on is today, right now. Everyday we see lives ending, not only through death, but through all the turmoil in our world that we have no control over. It could be a wild fire that gives you only minutes to escape and then lose all you have in this world. It could be a tornado that rips through your town, city or even rural areas without warning and destroys everything you know including taking lives. It could be a driver of a car or truck who loses control of his or her vehicle and changes your life or my life forever.
Each morning we wake up, whether it's sunny or rainy, whether it's warm or cold, it's a New Beginning. What will I do with my New Beginning? What will you do with your New Beginning? How will we improve our own life today. How can we impact other people's lives today? How can we make this world a little better. I don't mean we have to change the world, but doing something positive will have a positive impact on the world. This doesn't have to be something we have to contemplate or cogitate over. It should just be living our lives in a positive way. This will leave a positive impact on others and the world.
Let me give you a few examples:
I have a long time friend, over 50 years, who, upon retirement from his lifetime career, launched a 50s and 60s rock and roll, Internet radio show that is listened to around the world. His selection of music and his information about the music delights and brings joy to all his listeners. He gains positive joy from everything involved in creating his weekly show. So, it's a positive for himself while it's a positive for his listeners. And, it's a positive for the world since it's heard around the world. The name of the show is Mickey Bo's Rock N Roll Revue. You'll find a link on my blog home page or click here - https://mickeybo.com/
I know another person who is a retired professional photographer. About six years ago he purchased a large motorhome and took off across the U.S. to explore all the places he'd always wanted to see including national and state parks and forests. He's also a scenic, old-time railroad enthusiast. So, he shoots videos of the places he visits, including getting to ride the scenic railroads across the U.S. He then edits them into YouTube videos, narrates them and shares his view of this country with others who mainly enjoy traveling vicariously through his travels. You can find his channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/ROLLMEAWAY
I have another long time friend in New Zealand who is in his early 80s and has a number of special projects that give him personal joy and pleasure. They also have a positive impact on the people who enjoy his endeavors. One project is creating helpful, “how to” ebooks he publishes through the Amazon Kindle publishing process. Currently, he is approaching 50 ebooks he's authored and published. He also mentors aspiring speakers at a local Toastmaster's Club and he and his wife volunteer to run a tiny children's size railroad in a park in the town they live in. If you'd like to look up some of his ebook offerings, search for “How to Brian Morris” in the Amazon Kindle Store.
There are many ways to have a New Beginning. You don't have to be stricken by a cancer bomb like me. You don't have to be in your 70s and 80s. Everyone can have a New Beginning everyday. You simply have to look at each day as a new opportunity when you wake up. Who can you talk to today. Whose life can you inspire, encourage or motivate. What can you do for your family members, friends, neighbors, community, town, city, etc. It doesn't have to be anything big. While I was on the road, I was constantly encountering new people wherever I went. Most people either had a neutral look on their face or often were down in the mouth. I made it my daily priority to make at least 12 people smile each day (providing I encountered that many people). The simplest way I found was simply to smile at someone else. It almost always resulted in a returned smile. I also developed a few trademark comments or remarks. They resulted in smiles and chuckles at a rate of about 98% of the time. I have no idea who these people are or what their life backstory is. I just know I gave them a few moments of positive joy or happiness.
Life needs to be fun and happy. After all, when you think about it, what is the most powerful and important purpose of this gift of life we have? To my way of thinking, it's really very simple. It's to be happy. And, in order to be happy, you have to live as freely as possible. We are “born free” (Yes, there was a song by that title). But, think about it. Virtually, everything we do – ultimately – has one overriding desirability – to be happy. We work to provide the resources to be happy. Wars are waged, ultimately for someone to be happy. We live in homes to be happy. We take up hobbies to be . . . happy. Sure, you can come up with all kinds of other reasons and purposes. But, ultimately, the underlying reason is to be happy. You acquire a place to live. Why? To be protected from the elements, to be secure, to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But, if you're protected from the elements, secure, warm or cool – you're happier than if you didn't have a place to live.
So, as we begin this new year, 2022, let's look at all the New Beginnings. We already know that COVID-19 is going to continue to impact our world. We know that the divisiveness in politics is going to continue to be pervasive. We know the climate is going to continue to change and impact our environment. We know there is going to still be crime and, sadly, probably more rather than less. We know we're going to still have social issues such as racism, women facing certain kinds of inequality, homelessness, employment issues, etc. Economically we're going to face inflation whether we like it or not. We know we are susceptible to succumb to any number of medical issues. We don't know which one or when, but we do know it will never be convenient and will be very disruptive. And, there is so much more. But, if we dwell on these negatives, we are not going to experience the happiness that is all around us.
I, personally, do not make New Year's Resolutions. I think they are a waste of time. I do believe in establishing goals and creating a plan to achieve the goals. However, the goals and plans MUST be flexible. The only thing we can count on in life is the inevitability of change. So, we have to be prepared to accept change everyday. If we embrace this inevitability we can “go with the flow” and find ways to make change work for us instead of against us. That may not happen in every circumstance, but if we are flexible we have a better chance of moving forward in our lives. If we're of the right attitude and flexibility, we can stand right up, dust ourselves off and start all over again (as the old song says).
My plan, now that 2022 is here and I'm currently cancer free (and, of course, that can change tomorrow, but I'm counting on today), is to start exploring all kinds of possibilities and opportunities that present themselves everyday. They are all around me. I know I can't do everything. But, I can identify the ones that are the most appealing to me and give me a feeling that I will be happy if I achieve them. I'm also prepared to accept that some of the things I try may not work out. In that case, I'm going to let go of whatever it is and move onto the next opportunity. I don't know if I'll be able to get back to a point where I'll be able to travel the country as I was in My McVansion, or perhaps a newer, slightly larger McVansion. If I can, look out because here I come. If I can't, well, I'll face that reality and deal with it when it presents itself. I still have more ideas floating around in this 76 year old brain and body than I could deal with in several lifetimes. I have a list of 25 working book titles I want to write. That list will continue to grow. I need to start writing and publishing them. And, they will be in the form of ebooks, paperbacks and, potentially, even audiobooks. I'm versed in all these media and have the resources for all of them.
I'm going to do what I have to in order to motivate myself to get this blog up and moving again. It's been idle for too long. I need to write to inspire, encourage and motivate you, my reader, to do whatever you are destined to do. I might create a podcast, I have the resources and expertise for that, too. But, if you follow this blog, hopefully, I'll provide you with what you need for your New Beginnings. Please, share my blog, encourage others people to read it. Send me comments. Let me know when I'm hitting the ball out of the park or when I'm hitting foul balls. When you're inspired and motivated, that inspires and motivates me. So, let's light the fuse for all kinds of New Beginnings as we kick off 2022 and plan to make it a positive, wonder-filled year.
Live free and be happy, EH