Does Your Butt Hurt?

by Brandon

My ass definitely hurts. It hurts badly and it hurts often.

Because… you know… cancer.

But I suspect some of you suffer from ass pain as well, but your pain is (hopefully) completely unrelated to cancer. Some of you have ass pain because you’re spending too much time sitting on it and not enough time turning your dreams into reality.

Of course, I’m being facetious here. I don’t know if you’re sitting on your asses or not, but I figured it would be a good way to lead into my overall point…

I’ve said it dozens of times, but I’ll say it again (and again and again):

I’m not going to die from this.

That said, a diagnosis like this does make me think about mortality. It makes me think about the impact I’m leaving on this world and whether or not that impact is good or bad. It makes me think about the things I’ve done and the things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t.

And that last bit is where the shit gets deep.

It’s really all about regret. This is something those closest to me have heard me talk about for years, but I think it’s worth talking about here because – like pretty much everything – my diagnosis has made these thoughts much more… real.

You see, there are two kinds of regret:

There’s regret for what you did…

And there’s regret for what you didn’t do.

For most things, the first type of regret is easy to overcome. If you do something you regret, just do your best to make it right, forgive yourself, then move on. Done.

But the second type… regret for what you didn‘t do…

That kind of regret is a full-on bitch. You can’t leave that kind of regret behind. It follows you throughout your life.

Then, one day, while you’re playing Star Trek Online, Death will show up and say, “Hey,  man. I’m just here to remind you that I exist. I’m gonna’ hang out for a while.”

“No, Death,” you’ll say. “I don’t need to be reminded of you. Go away and let me play my game.”

Then Death will ask you what you’re playing and you’ll say, “Star Trek Online,” with a sigh.

“Cool,” Death will say. “How about I get on the other computer and we can play together. You know, since I’m hanging out here anyway.”

That’ll piss you off. “No, Death!” you’ll say. “I like playing solo.”

At that point, Death will get all smug and say, “You know, Star Trek Online is a mulitplayer online roleplaying game. It’s designed to play with other people.”

“I do fine playing solo,” you’ll argue.

“But you’re missing out on half the game,” Death will insist.

“Go away!” you’ll yell. “Damn. I don’t want you here. I don’t like you, Death. Nobody likes you.”

Death will act all hurt and say, “That’s harsh, dude. And it’s not true. Emo teenagers love me.They constantly write poems about me. And you should see the crap they doodle on their notebooks.”

“Then go bother them,” you’ll snap.

“I can’t stand emo teenagers,” Death will say.

You’ll finally look up from your game and say, “Look. Go away. There’s a 97 year old woman who lives in this very neighborhood. Go hang out with her!”

“Believe it or not,” Death will say, “she’s gonna’ be around for another 8 years.”

“Then go for a walk!” you’ll yell. “I don’t give a damn where you go. I just do not want you here!”

In a huff, Death will say, “Fine.” He’ll turn and walk toward the door, then he’ll stop and say, “Oh, by the way, you have cancer.” Then, as he leaves, he’ll mumble, “Dick.”

You’ll be glad he finally left, but his parting words will haunt you. Not the “Dick” part… the “you have cancer” part.

And you’ll find yourself thinking about your life.

That’s when you’ll start to regret things.

Mostly, you’ll regret the things you wanted to do, but didn’t.

You’ll think about the classmate in the 10th grade you wanted to ask out, but never got up the nerve.

You’ll think about how you chose the safe job because too many people said your dream career was unrealistic.

You’ll think about every time you decided against doing something because the statistical odds suggested you would fail.

You’ll think about every time your heart wanted to turn right, but your fear motivated you to turn left.

Yeah. Like I said, that second kind of regret is a total bitch.

It will taunt you until the day you die.

The worst four words to start any sentence is “I wish I had…”

So my advice to you…

Never set yourself up to use those words.

I know it sounds like a total cliche, but chase your dreams. If you have a dream career, figure out how to make it happen. If you love someone, make damn sure they know it. If you’ve always wanted to see the pyramids in Egypt, start figuring out how you can make it happen. If you’ve always dreamed of being a contestant on The Price is Right, figure out how to get your ass in that audience. Don’t let the “realist” in you talk you out of it, because here’s a little-known secret… that “realist” usually isn’t a realist at all. He’s a coward, hiding behind odds and statistics.

You get the point. It’s an old point, and it’s one that I’m sure you’ve heard over and over.

I do, however, think I’m now qualified to give this advice, for two reasons.

1. I chased my dream, and I can attest to the joy it brought me.
2. While I’m not dying (because I will beat this), I have been forced to face death in a very real way, which has given me perspective on this whole “chase your dreams” thing.

If you want to ignore my advice because you think I’m being a self-important jackass, I totally understand.

But please understand… I’m not giving this advice because I want to feel important.

I’m giving it because I want you to get the absolute most out of your life… and cowering away from your dreams won’t make that happen.

Even if you live to a ripe old age, the human lifespan is disturbingly short.

Every second is precious.

Soak up each and every one.

Be happy, folks. You deserve it.

–Bran

 

 


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Russell Blake March 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM

We’re all dying. That’s the part all the commercialism and crap is designed to divert us from. Every day, there’s no guarantee we’ll be here tomorrow. But the illusion that we will allows us to live in the past, and the future, instead of the present. We can put off till tomorrow what we don’t do today, because, hey, we have time.

Except we don’t have any idea how much time we actually have. Not one of us.

I think one of the reasons my dogs are so happy is they don’t know death awaits. They’re just doing what they want right now. They celebrate the moment.

We’re all dying. At different rates. Some have a due date with a head-on collision tomorrow. Others with an undiagnosed chunk of plaque rupturing next week and stopping our heart. Still others have six months due to a diagnosis. Others six years that will fly by like nothing because they’re busy planning for tomorrow – when tomorrow is always one more day away, and the place they’re standing is yesterday’s tomorrow, when all that shit was supposed to be better and different.

Live fully. Do right by others. Love. Be kind to the less fortunate, and fight for the oppressed. But whatever you do, do it 110%, because not one of us gets out of this alive, and the illusion that we have all the time in the world is just that. What we have is the time we have. Period. And there are no refunds or rewinds.

Keep your head up.
Russell Blake recently posted..A Self-Pubbing FutureMy Profile

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Lyn Brooks March 12, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Bran, I love this post. It perfectly sums up what I felt when I had the allergic reaction and went into respiratory collapse and cardiac arrest and died and had to be shocked back a few years ago and then had all of those breathing issues for months afterwards. It perfectly sums up what I felt all those years ago when my spleen ate all of my platelets and I had a fever of 108.9 and died, perfectly sums up what I felt when I had the really bad crohn’s flare and was in multiple organ failure, or the other crohn’s flares I had where I was so severely dehydrated and had lost so much blood and fluids that my doctors didn’t know if I was going to make it those times. Each of those times, I felt and experienced what you are saying here, I just didn’t quite know how to put it into words. Life is short, too short and I love this post because you said it so eloquently and honestly , brutally honestly, and put all of what I felt those times and feel now into words. Thank you for this post.

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Suzy Stewart Dubot March 12, 2014 at 4:26 PM

This has indeed given me something to think about. Thank you for your frankness and for putting into words some of those thoughts that usually hover on the edge of our consciousnesses. We do need to face them one day, so the sooner the better. It avoids waste…
I really do believe you have the right attitude and that you will beat the beast.
Suzy Stewart Dubot recently posted..Thanks for the MemoriesMy Profile

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John March 15, 2014 at 6:22 PM

The ironic thing is, I agree with everything here, yet I write about how immortality can be a burden. We can’t have it both ways, so we must just make our time on this plane as worthwhile as possible. And by being a writer, artist, or creator of some other kind of media, we achieve a kind of quasi-immortality.

As I quoted in Allison’s Defeat, ‘A good life has but few days, but a good name liveth forever.’

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