I’m thinking a lot about New Year’s Resolutions and life. When this publishes, my step-father will be undergoing surgery for a thoracic aortic aneurysm. We’ve been waiting for what seems like forever to have his repair taken care of, in a game of “watchful waiting” involving a CT scan every six months. He was adopted as a child and the results from his genetics test, as well as finding out his birth father died at age 54, was enough for the surgical team to move ahead with his repair.
How does heart surgery have anything to do with New Year’s Resolutions? Watching Steve live his life has been a reminder that I don’t need a New Year’s Resolution to go out and live mine or enact change. He goes out every day knowing it could be his last, because if his aneurysm were to dissect, it would very likely be fatal. Steve retired from his job with the federal government and has done everything he can to live his life to the fullest. Most of it is admittedly spent in his happy place, the golf course. But he shows it in other ways. The way he loves my mother, the love he shows me and my sister, his children and the gaggle of grand-children that come with a blended family of six kids. He wouldn’t change a thing, this great outpouring or love, the fun with his friends, and his wonderfully wicked sense of humor.
I’m so incredibly lucky to have him in my life and call him Dad. Just thinking about it makes me lay my head of my desk and sob, so much that it’s taken me 30 minutes to write just a few words.
He was supposed to have surgery last week, and I was in Maryland with Steve and Mom, waiting. Other patients, much worse than him in matters of health, caused his surgery to be continued so they could have a chance at life in the form of new lungs and a new heart. Needless to say, my anxiety is great today, and I wish I could blink my eyes and be transported to Johns Hopkins to sit with mother and pace the floors.
Auntie Make taught us that “life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Steve reminds me of Auntie Mame. His mantra for the past few years has been to live and live well, never looking back and being fully present in everything he does. I don’t think I truly listened to this lesson, or understood, until today. (December 27.)
There’s a lot worse we could do than to live our life to the fullest every single moment of every single day. And that’s why I won’t be making New Year’s Resolutions. I have to go out and take the lessons I’ve learned from Steve and live my life. I have to stop hiding and instead of being afraid, face my fears and live, live, live. “Life is a banquet and most suckers are starving to death.” I refuse to starve my soul anymore.
We don’t know at the end of the day if Steve will be here with us our not, or even in a month, due to the mortality rate of this procedure. But, I can honor him and his message by committing to living my life and casting off the fear I’ve burdened myself with for so many years. Whenever someone asks how I am, I want to be able to say: I learned how to experience the joy life has to offer me. I found my spirit.