Last week I found out that I had almost died two weeks prior. I had no idea. At that time I visited my doctor with a pain in my left side towards my back and we both agreed I had hurt it while moving firewood. But last week I had a swollen lower right leg and he suspected a clot. After an ultrasound and a CAT scan, it turned out that the earlier episode had been a pulmonary embolism and was most likely the result of a deep vein thrombosis in my leg. This was all too surreal and came as quite a surprise…I felt fine. But that’s really not what this is about.
I can’t remember where I read the title phrase( a quick Google search reveals a lot of folks using it now) but it is appropriate to my evolving outlook these days. My first reaction as I lay there was about wanting to be home with Mary Beth and our dog, Murphy, and how much I loved sharing life with them. That was followed by the self-critique that I had wasted my life, I’ve done nothing of note and I have pretty much coasted, doing what was expected of me and dabbling in various interests and enjoying them but without ever really settling on something and sinking all my energy into that pursuit. I do have a passion for nature and photographing what I find but, as with most things in my life, it has never been all-consuming. Like most folks in my situation, an appreciation of life overwhelmed me and, although mine did not pass before my eyes, I definitely gave it some serious thought.
Some people these days have their “bucket lists” of all that they want to do before they pass on. It’s a pretty neat idea and certainly worth putting some time and energy into. But I don’t think that’s for me. Sure, I’d like to see the world’s wonders, travel across the United States and experience all that life has to offer. More realistically though, I’m pretty happy getting to know my own little part of the Earth, enjoying the people in my life whom I’m privileged to call friends and seeing what each day has to offer. It also occurred to me that I judge myself too harshly. Whatever I accomplish is uniquely my own, not to be measured against the accomplishments of others, and definitely to be savored. That’s not to say one should not be driven to improve and excel, but we need a bit of self-satisfaction to propel us along. Appreciate your failures for what they teach and grow each day a little bit.
So I’ll be a better husband, a better person, a better photographer, and I’ll also accept myself for who I am. And we should all try to be “Comfortable in my own skin”.