Not so virgin territory

Okay, I have to admit I’ve done this before. When I first starting writing this recovery blog, I found it very therapeutic – I was able to express ideas in writing that I had trouble just talking about. But this time around I’d like to do something a little different. Not sure what yet, but I know it will evolve. And I will try really hard not to just recycle old material. What I do know is that with 10 years of sobriety under my belt, I get to look at life from a different perspective.

The world turned upside down recently when one of my best friends was killed in a plane crash, along with his nephew and his son-in-law. I’m still trying to comprehend the magnitude of this loss for his wife and children. Stunned as I am, I have been flooded with memories of my friendship with this man – he had enough energy to power a small city, and a bigger heart than the Big Nickel. More importantly, he believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

I’ve dealt with a lot of deaths over my lifetime – grandparents, a cousin, parents, friends. This is different. I have another friend who just felt like puking the day we found out. But we move on, we remember with gratitude that someone touched our lives with their enthusiasm and love and friendship, and we try to learn from it all. R.I.P., Riki…

And now, within two months of each other, another of my best friends closed his eyes for the last time. He had struggled with Type 1 Diabetes since he was 13, had endured transplants, bad reactions (ie. blindness) to anti-rejection drugs, and yet he was one of the most grateful people I’ve ever met. After we graduated from different universities, he continued to call me every year – “HEY Maple Leaf! Can’t pick up the phone to call me on my birthday!!?”

On September 11th, when the towers came down, he was the first guy I called. Somehow I got through, and he was safe, but pretty frantic not knowing where his beloved wife was – in the mayhem, nobody was getting off the island, and it took a while before everything was okay again. He constantly badgered me about my smoking – for some reason, the little guy cared, and kept telling me how proud he was that I stopped almost five years ago. He reminded me constantly of the need to be grateful, and told me once that he envied me having my disease – I was able to have a daily reprieve. He was right, and he taught me to be grateful every day. About 6 years ago, he was my navigator driving into Manhattan – couldn’t see past his own nose that day, and advised me to turn left at an intersection, just in time to have a bicycle courier plant his head in the door of my brand new Mini Cooper. Somehow we got where we were going, and had a magical visit to the city. R.I.P. Glen – you are already missed.

So, enough funerals. I need to spend more time amidst the living. I need to improve my relationships, not mourn them.

I’ve often felt that many of the problems we face today are not new – the core issues have been around since the dawn of time – how to get along with others, how to survive, how to live a happy and purposeful life. The solutions may be a little different because of new perspectives on the world, and we may use different technologies, but I have to think that the core answers are also pretty much the same – have I done something positive today, have I been kind to others, have I been grateful?

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” ~ Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

I used to hate with a passion that old saw “What goes around, comes around”, just because the individual who always said it was so annoying. But it’s the same principle as the Golden Rule, the Law of Attraction, and probably 45 other sayings – you get what you give. 46.

So, here’s to new beginnings… with old ideas… from a new perspective…


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