Shortly after the Fourth of July in 1998, I suffered a stroke. Like most days, I woke up with an excruciating headache, and like most days, I popped a couple of Tylenols and tried to forget about it. However, on this particularly morning, there was no forgetting it. By the end of the day, I was in the intensive care unit of Dale County Hospital in Ozark, AL, unable to move my left side or speak. I was terrified that I might die, or worse (In my mind), lose the ability to think clearly. I also remember thinking, I am 30 years old, and if I died today, what would be the legacy I would leave to my son, Justin? At that point, I was in a marriage that was past the point of needing to end. I had unresolved issues about my childhood. But most of all, I did not believe that I had done anything in the world that would make anyone remember I had ever even been here. At that moment, I promised myself if I survived, I would live every day like it was my last. Some days I’ve fallen short of that goal…by a lot. But all and all, I think I did a pretty good job of at least remembering my goal, even when I didn’t meet it.
So here we all are. On the cusp of a brand new year. If you had asked me that summer of 1998 would I still be here almost 16 years later, I probably would have laughed (if I’d had the strength) at the very thought. Mainly because, my prayer that day was simple: “God, just let me live to see my son graduate from high school.” Thankfully, I exceeded that wish.
So now, as the world contemplates their New Year’s resolutions, I encourage us all to not worry so much about the things we want to do different in 2014. We have plenty of time for that. Instead, let’s celebrate all of the things we’ve gotten right in 2013. I mean, look. We’re still here. We may have royally messed up from time to time in 2013, but we survived it, and hopefully, we are coming out on the other side stronger and wiser. Let’s vow to leave all negativity in our rear view mirrors. Let’s look back at 2013 as a success because we’ve made it this far, and let’s meet 2014 with a year’s worth of positivity and the mental fortitude to make it the best year ever. Happy New Year Everyone!