A much needed reminder

How are you don’t lieInstead of heading straight downstairs to find a seat for dinner I asked my Brother John to save me a seat. I knew many people at the event but I always prefer to sit with close friends at these events and for some reason, one which will reveal itself at the end of this post, I wanted to sit with John. I can’t put my finger on it but for some reason, we really click. He agreed and I went outside to clear my head and put on my “everything is fine” face. I knew that I would be asked how I was doing by many. My health history is well known and it is a blessing and a curse that many inquiries regarding my progress are made. I needed to be ready. You see, it is my opinion that for some the greeting “How are you?” is generic at best. But among my brethren they really mean it. And they know me, I have famously said “fine” to the greeting hundreds of times when I was anything but. A true friend would push and ask for the truth. That night, it was going to be difficult to satisfy those people because despite my robust physical appearance, I was bearing the weight of the world. Someone was going to call me on it.

The walls really were closing in on me. I was beating myself up over leaving my first Insurance Job. Three weeks in I was being pushed too hard and trained too little and despite my Herculean efforts to learn and apply TONS of information from Licenses to Certifications they weren’t happy with my progress and we parted ways. It really isn’t a huge deal career-wise. It wasn’t a good fit and I wasn’t contracted yet. Still, I felt like a failure, as I am prone to do. I was miserable. On top of that, I was disgusted and upset that my recently-broken-up-with ex-girlfriend didn’t have the decency to even text me after I drove over an hour out of my way to give back some belongings. Why would she be so childish and angry with me after she dumped my ass? She broke my heart and n top of reeling from that, now I have to wonder about this? I was consumed and my mind was racing. I shook it off and went inside.

I joined John and a few other good friends for dinner. It really was a tremendous set up. The room was full of well-dressed happy people. The decorations were lovely, the food was amazing and the bar was open. As expected, many inquiries were made about my health. I think I fooled all of them. Then John says to the whole table, hand resting on my shoulder, “Bill has the most amazing attitude. He is the most determined, optimistic and cheerful guy I’ve ever met. He’s been through so much and he keeps dusting himself off. He’s an inspiration to me.” Everyone at the table offered up similar sentiments. I gratefully acknowledged them and thanked them profusely.
Then it hit me.
There was the reason I had felt compelled to sit with John that evening. Because I was destined to hear that. Not for the praise, despite how flattering and humbling it was. No, it was a REMINDER to stop spiraling down the drain of negative thinking and remember that I have survived so much big and important shit in my life that I can’t let a couple of setbacks get me down. Somehow I had lost my mojo but John’s words snapped me right out of it. To Hell with the heartbreak, it’s her loss. To Hell with the job, it wasn’t the right company but I’ve still got the license and I will use it. To Hell with negativity in general, I needed to get back on track.

I know this is hard for some people to believe, but sometimes things really do happen for a reason. I was at an absolute low and by the end of dinner, I was actually in a decent place. I can’t begin to understand how it happened that quickly, but I can’t deny that it happened.

Today, I’m not 100%. I still miss her terribly and I still wish the job had turned out better. But neither of them are getting me down. And for now that is good enough.

How many?

Just how many comebacks are allotted to one person before God says
you know what? It’s someone else’s turn.”

I have had so many comebacks that I struggle with the notion of worthiness. A traumatic head injury when I was a child. A near-fatal motorcycle accident as a teenager. Cancer at 31. End stage renal disease that started when I was 17. 2 Staph infections, 2 transplants. I came back from all of them stronger than ever. Other than Scottish heritage, I have no other explanation for my apparent indestructability. Due to the overwhelming good fortune I have experienced I carry around a lot of emotional baggage. Between my periodic bouts with anxiety, the spectre of depression during what I call the “dialysis days” that still haunt me (probably because it was so uncharacteristic of me), the anger over losing my first transplant after only 5 years and the myriad of other shit sandwiches I’ve been forced to eat in the name of my health, I now carry the weight of gratitude. And if I don’t continuously act on that gratitude then you can add guilt to the plethora of heavy emotions I carry.

I know that may sound odd, to portray a wonderful emotion like gratitude as if it were a negative. It certainly isn’t a bad thing at all, I am simply saying that it is as heavy as any other emotion. If one is truly grateful, that gratitude should be present in everything he does going forward. I can’t speak for anyone but myself but as a truly grateful person I feel compelled to incorporate it into everything that I do.

I hope it’s not just a phase. I hope that this feeling of deep gratitude and desire to be worthy of the gifts that I have been granted never fades. I think that after all of these years I have found my calling. I will leave the pursuit of wealth and power to the rest of the world, I will keep it small and local as I share the wisdom that only a life of setbacks and comebacks can provide.

It’s the very least that the Comeback Kid can do.