In a few minutes, I will touch down in SFO, San Francisco’s international airport, for the first time ever. I remember just a few years ago, I was sitting in a drab cubicle with a boss I despised and a job I loathed when my co-author, Atty had just landed in SFO for his first time ever. I wanted to be him so bad at the time… well not be him but to have these exciting experiences he was having.
That day stung but it triggered a massive change in myself. It made me decide I wouldn’t settle anymore. It made me decide that if I wanted something bad enough, I was definitely going to go for it, and what I wanted to do was have a cool job that paid me to travel.
Now I’m in San Francisco too, just like Atty a few years back. There isn’t anything special about San Francisco in particular, it just happened to be one of the first big places Atty got to go after he started his first job out of college. I remember how depressed I felt that I’d spent four years since getting out of college myself, doing a bunch of nothing. Working in unchallenging jobs with no chances for advancement, no change, no excitement, just a mundane existence of just getting by.
Fast Forward Two Weeks
I wrote those paragraphs above a few weeks back. I didn’t think them special enough to share at the time, they were just thoughts I jotted down on the airplane. A lot has changed very suddenly since then. In two weeks’ time my wife and I have discovered that she is chronically ill. My wife has lupus. Lupus is a strange sickness. It seems evasive, hard to define and obtuse. The sickness doesn’t manifest itself the same in any two people and there aren’t any direct treatments for it.
Essentially, to have lupus is to indefinitely feel like shit. It is an autoimmune sickness where your body is at war with itself. In most people, lupus isn’t fatal, but as a person gets older, it takes its toll on them, weakening the liver, attacking the joints, inflaming the skin.
This inspires me even further to charge forward with living our lives. Experiencing all we can while we are able to. Taking extra care to appreciate each other, our children, our families and our friends all the more.
We all will die someday and more than likely, the world will forget we were ever here. This illness serves as a reminder of that. It serves as a wakeup call of just how fragile, unpredictable and unstable this house of glass around us really is. It takes only one stray stone to bring sections of it crashing to the ground as shards of glass at our feet, impossible to put back together as is was before.
I am sad. I am also scared for my wife and my children. I don’t know what to do other than go to work and take care of them. Save for retirement, college, excursions around the globe, and live an upstanding life as a man of integrity and honesty.
Unfortunately though, this isn’t enough is it? Because let’s be honest, I am powerless in these matters, matters of chronic illnesses, unexpected accidents and all of life’s other curveballs. We can hedge, but nothing is for certain.
Love is a painful affair. I can’t help but wish I was in it alone sometimes. That is selfish. But to love something so much and face the thought of losing it forever is unfathomable to me. I almost think I’d rather be alone. No burdens and a burden to no one, but would that even be a life worth living?
I don’t think so.