They say life is imperfect. For a long while now, I've disagreed. This convergence right here -- me writing this hours (or days!) ago, and you reading it at this very moment -- represents absolute perfection, at least to me. The craziest and most unlikely of events brought us here, to this itty-bitty place, together ... a place that doesn't even exist in any tangible, traditionally meaningful way. What remarkable lives we tiny needles have led, to meet here, in this strange little haystack.
Open your mind to the billion-trillion ways our lives might not have intersected, and you just might weep from the humbling awe of it all. I have. Because instead of being in those theres, you're here. It could've happened countless different ways -- and perhaps should've -- but didn't. Our respective tempests intersected in this teapot, and make no mistake: it was a perfect storm that delivered us here. We're right where we're supposed to be.
I refer not to God or fate -- though you're welcome to imprint that meaning upon my words if you wish -- but to cause and effect. Decisions made by you, me, our families and friends and lovers and 6 billion others. Butterflies in China, hurricanes in Florida, that sort of thing.
By my reckoning, there is perfection in these impossible odds ... even when these convergences present heartbreak or other challenges. Earlier today, I reminded myself of this, as life-changing news was re-confirmed to me by a doctor on the other side of a telephone.
I can count on two hands the number of people who, until this little miraculous moment that's brought us together, knew this secret about me.
I am a diabetic.
I've known this since 2006, though I did nothing to treat this incurable disease -- and in fact actively engaged in unhealthy activity that likely worsened my condition since my initial diagnosis. The deeply-rooted, irrational, cowardly and misguided reasons for this self-destructive avoidance are mine to examine and rectify. I respectfully contend that there's not much value in sharing them here.
However, I also respectfully contend that you might find value in what brought me to this re-diagnosis, and how I'm dealing with it.
A few months back, I went to the dentist for the first time in 20 years, and explained the incapacitating pain I experienced on the left side of my face when I chewed food. X-rays revealed an impacted lower wisdom tooth. The only way to eliminate the pain was to yank that sucker out of my head. The doctor suggested I have my other wisdom teeth also removed.
I smiled, saluted, promised to take care of it, and learned to chew food on the right side of my mouth, because...
...three weeks later, I moved from Fort Lauderdale to my new home near Denver. The financial, and health insurance, dust settled mere weeks ago. I visited a local oral surgeon, presented my situation, and when he asked if I was a diabetic, I paused.
Lying would've been easy. I'd been lying to myself for nearly a half-decade. But lying to others is a lousy thing to do.
I'm glad I fessed up. The surgeon explained that blood sugar levels (which diabetes affects, among a frickin' Who's Who of other bodily things) are in fact required to be within certain limits during and after the surgery, due mostly to the anesthesia and other drug cocktail-y stuff used in the procedure. The health of someone with abnormally high blood sugar like me would be at risk.
I'm a heavy cigarette smoker. And so, I was also told that after this surgery, I couldn't smoke for several days -- lest I risk "sucking" special (and necessary) blood clots out of the fresh holes in my head. Dry socket, it's called. I was told it's excruciating. That's all I needed to know.
And did I mention I live a sedentary life? I've recently lost some weight by eating less fast food, but this First World wordherding homebody hates breaking a sweat.
For want of a nail. Or in this case, a tooth.
To eat like a normal person again, I realized I'd have to:
- Get my blood sugar to a surgery-appropriate level, which meant I had to...
- ...re-diagnose my diabetes, and diligently treat it with medication...
- ...and change my diet to lower my blood sugar levels...
- ...and exercise, which also reduces blood sugar levels...
- ...and quit smoking, for a great many reasons, including a "dry socket" deterrent.
Much like the circumstances that brought you and I together here, that bullet list represents a truly perfect storm. A storm filled with disruptive Change. A storm designed to frighten the laziness, ignorance and avoidance right out of my marrow, and shove me on a life path I should've been on all along.
And that's exactly what I'm doing. Easy, it ain't gonna be. But believe me when I earnestly say that I've survived far worse.
I wish I was motivated purely by desire and not a hearty dose of desperation ... but so often, so many of us require crises to rediscover our mettle.
You're a creative and intelligent person, so you know just as well as I that this will make me a better, stronger, smarter person. A healthier person. A person who'll live longer, and who won't live with the silent -- and occasionally paralyzing -- guilt of willful self-delusion and -destruction.
And now, on to the reason why I'm sharing this sliver of my life with you. Would you be surprised to know that it has nigh-nothing to do with me -- and nearly everything to do with you? Tis true.
Because we know -- you and me, we two needles in this strange little haystack -- we know that you're sitting on something that is impacting your life in a similarly-spirited way. It may not be a disease, or smoking, or gobbling Smartfood when you should be doing cardio. It may have absolutely nothing to do with the body. But it's there, and it's a thing that's been lurking, and occupying far too much of your mind and emotions, for far too long.
It needs to be acknowledged. It needs to be thoughtfully examined. And it needs to be treated, in the most positive and appropriate way possible.
You don't need a crisis flashpoint like mine to motivate you. You merely require a moment of clarity and courage to look into the mirror of Self, be more honest with your heart than you've been in years, and love yourself enough to make those meaningful changes in your life. Easy, it ain't gonna be. But you've survived far worse.
This moment of clarity and courage need not be epic. Nor must the steps you take to improve your life. They must simply be a series of perfect storms.
Thankfully, those are everywhere. Like the one we just shared.