For Monday, November 30, 2015:
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”
Back in late 1993, I was diagnosed with a condition that required open heart surgery a few months later. Before the surgery, I researched as much as I could about the condition, and everything I read said that the average age at death was 50 years old. That gave me, then, about ten years according to the medical literature at the time.
Well, I’m still here, a little over two decades beyond the then-life expectancy. Medical science, of course, has improved tremendously in that time, but I still need to be careful and to be monitored, and an early death is always a possibility.
So every day is a gift, every day for twenty years has been a gift. It’s a lot more than six minutes, obviously, but I know just what Asimov means. When I was first diagnosed, I wrote and wrote and wrote. It helped me through the worst of the grief of what I was losing and what I might lose.
I also made a decision that has guided me ever since then: I was going to write and write and write for as long as I could. I would pursue publication, too, but that wasn’t the important part. The important part was that I decided to be true to myself, and that meant I had — I have — to do whatever it takes to write. That decision, too, was a gift.
What gift decisions can you give yourself, must you give yourself, to be true to your art? Whether we have six minutes left, twenty years or fifty or more, who and what fulfills the artist within you?