This is a rollercoaster…. There’s more valleys than hills at this point. This week I went really low, then I tried to jump up. Then I fell off the wagon on cigarettes and spent the last two days drinking away the pain. It worked. It sort of made sense. It seemed normal. Then I woke up and realized that I’m not OK being this person again.
A great friend pointed out to me that last month was something that was real. Being alone, being sober always and having to be ok with “me” was eye opening. I don’t know if I can go back to being who I was before. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Then I watched the story of Pete Frates. He’s the guy behind the ALS challenge. He’s why it happens. He’s an ex college baseball player, who was diagnosed with ALS at 27. He’s been through it all the last few years. He’s not just dealing, he’s changing the world. He’s doing this through his friends. He’s doing this through being strong. He’s someone that I’d give everything to have an ounce of his courage.
There’s countless stories. Look on Google. Type in courageous or inspiring, and realize inspiration. It’s there. It’s everywhere. People struggle. That’s life. People are exceptional. Type in ___ disease and inspirational into any search engine and you’ll find plenty tear worthy stories.
People survive. People flourish. People exceed expectations every day.
There’s no reason I can’t flourish. I don’t think I’ll ever have it in me to be the type of inspiration that someone like Pete is. I don’t even want to pretend that I can be that. But, if I can help just one person realize that life is out there all around them, and that feelings and effects are not as important as experiences and actions, then I feel like I’m doing something great.
In the last 40 days I’ve had 35 great and productive days towards a healthy life. I’ve had 5 unhealthy ones. Compare that to the opposite for the previous 40 days and I can feel a little better.
I 100% don’t know what I want to do in my life. I 100% acknowledge this. I’m pretty damn scared to even think about what I would want if I could do anything.
But here’s the thing. If you look at people like Pete Frates, if you look at the people that succumbed to cancer way too young, if you look at the war vets that were horrifically injured, and if you look at the people involved in life changing accidents, there’s no way I can feel ok with not feeling great about my life.
I used to just see these videos and feel sad, and sympathetic. Now I feel a mix of guilty, scared, and hypocritical. Mixed with that is a drive. A drive to really enjoy this life, to really get things out of my day to day. To have a great time for once because of me, and not because of attention, or praise.
That’s why I’m thankful for these heroes. People that stand for something bigger than themselves. People that change lives. People that look in the mirror, see pain, see terror, and go on to fight every day.
ALS received $1.7 million in donations in this month last year. The foundation is at $13.3M right now for the same time period.
Facebook and a need for attention are driving this particular fundraiser to some extent, but Pete’s drive is behind a lot of it. That drive is in all of us. It just has to be brought out by something that we care about. That thing can be life. That thing can be other people. That thing can be anything that pushes you to be better. I hope I’m that thing for me at some point.