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“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

heart on paper


For the years following my experience on 9/11 I was unrecognizable to myself, and possibly other people.  No one really ever said much about the changes in my personality, but from the inside out I knew that things were amiss.

When my life just wasn’t working (though with the economy MANY people could say that), and I had run out of steam.  Reflecting back with a different view now I can see that the anxiety and panic of 2008 was quite similar to my behavior in 2001.  I was confused, scared and all alone.

One friend asked me if I was grateful sometime in 2013.  I wasn’t.  I wished that I had died that day in 2001.  The burden was just too much to carry.  It wore on me, and I imagine it wore on my friends.  We all were at a loss about what to do, though no one really mentioned it or talked about it.  I tried everything I knew to get healthier but found general therapy to be insufficient.  So I limped along.  By mid-2013 I was done.  I just wanted out.  I felt trapped in the city I live, trapped in my house, trapped in my body.  My knee stopped me from running.  Everything I knew and used for comfort was gone.  No family and no friends near by.  The distance between friends made me feel like I was a drag on their boats.

For the years in which I wasn’t fully in my body–dissociated from all the parts of me that I loved– a sense of wonder, passion and belief that I could add value to the world around me, I was slowly dying.  A painful and very slow death.

Then BOOM.  I had a heart attack that shocked me (and my doctors).  The physical stuff is for another day to discuss, and I’ve already written about those details. The emotional and spiritual aspects of the event were trans-formative.  Back into my body, fully present, awake and with in weeks, a sense of gratitude.  Enough change that I had to go to a counselor.  I didn’t understand what was happening.

I became thankful, grateful and amazed by the new friends who had come along in 2013.  While the first 2/3 of the year sucked, the last 3 months have just been challenging.  My passion for learning and challenging ‘the system’ came back.  I have taken control of my health and continue to learn how to get my life back.

I’m taking a risk by leaving TN for Northern California–a place I’ve wanted to live for years.  I’ve asked friends for help to get me there.  I HATE not being able to take care of myself financially.  It’s the worst feeling in the world to me.  But I humbly ask, and gratefully receive whatever support I get.  I couldn’t get past this place without help.  It’s not easy to ask, but somehow I feel confident that I will land well, and hopefully get to a place where I can pay back, build my own nest egg and live out the next decade with satisfaction.

This is my “do over”.  I’m grateful.  I’m giving everything away that doesn’t sell. Then I’m packing up the dogs and what will fit in the car, hitting the road and driving west.  No place to live yet, no job, but a sense of well being.

My word for 2014 is a much over done word.  I say it and believe with all of my being.  Grateful.  What is your word for 2014?