So the next question after "what now?" becomes: "What is my purpose?" I recently said to fellow blogger and lung recipient Piper Beatty that I can't go forward from this point living a life half-devoid of meaning, or engaging in activities that don't fulfill at least some good and beneficial purpose. I can use this as a razor to divide the jobs I should take from those I shouldn't, for instance. "Xmas windows, ok," I wrote. "Football halftime layouts, maybe not." The difference being in that the purpose of the latter is mindless filler*, the former makes millions of people smile each season with memories that last a lifetime.
(*Obviously, the NFL attempts to embue meaning to these half-time shows, as they mostly center around saluting the various heros of our society: the military, victims of various diseases, attack survivors, etc.)
So with Purpose in mind, I have already begun to find a strategy for charting my new life, now that I have breath. I've decided I can avoid the existential angst that comes with a blank calendar by...filling it in.
To that end, there are some very concrete events I can at least plan for and start to train for:
1) I signed up for the TD Bank 5 Boro bike tour, May 4th. PURPOSE: reconquer a long bike ride as soon as possible.
2) Talked over a possible timeline for moving back to New York with mom. Tentatively March 8th-9th. PURPOSE: to be able to plan out other events around this, events that take place in both Durham and New York.
3) Verbally committed to riding the 11th annual Long Reach Long Riders ride, July 12th-18th. PURPOSE: to get back to motorcycling in a quick, supported way. I can borrow one of two bikes, put my gear in the chase vehicle if needed, and have two dozen friends along to enjoy my return to biker status with.
4) At the same time as congratulating Piper Beatty on setting a new 7East floor lap record, vowed to beat it should I be placed there for recovery after my stomach surgery. Can I get a LINX, then get up and walk more than 5 miles? Oh, Piper sets the bar high! PURPOSE: well,....just to see if I can, actually....
5) And...designed a tattoo. See the pic. PURPOSE: to test if I have the kind of balls to actually go through with getting one. I've never had one and have some pretty strict rules about getting one, not to mention that tattoos are now verboten according to all transplant centers. And yet people do get them....
And there are other events I will call my coordinator about on Tuesday and push to get scheduled. I just loathe an unsecured, in-flux calendar. I want at least a tentative date scheduled for my consult with Dr Lin, for instance, and date(s) for my stomach surgery.
Tonight, I am reminded that we don't live our life successfully from moment to moment and in the dark - we need light to see by, and we bring the light by anticipating, planning, challenging ourselves, and committing.