Death of an Acquaintance

Last night I learned that a guy I met when I was traveling over in Cambodia died recently in a motorcycle accident.

I haven’t been in touch with him since I left Cambodia (this was 2 years ago), but it still was a shock to me that I’ll never have contact with him again. Death comes for everyone, but for some well before their time.

This makes me think more about my relationships with folks. When you’re traveling, you make these great relationships, but they are one off things most of the time. When you are in the same place for a while (while traveling, for a job, just living life), you have the opportunity to make stronger connections just due to proximity to the same people. It makes me appreciate what I have.

There are a couple fascinating parts to this learning of his death for me…

I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for Facebook. I might have wanted to get in touch down the line and received no answer. It would have been weird.

The other thing about Facebook is that we have no common friends. There is virtually no one who is a friend of mine who also knows him. Though, there are other connections aside from Facebook, so I have found at least one person to talk to about this.

Not that it’s that much of a coincidence, but I am reading about the slow march towards death right now. “Tuesdays with Morrie” is about a gentleman with ALS. I was just reading the chapter where they talk about death. “The truth is, Mitch,” he said, “once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” In the chapter, Morrie talks about how we take death for granted a bit. It’s something we know is going to happen, but we don’t fully grasp that it can happen at any moment.

Motorcycles are dangerous. A friend of mine had a parent that was recently in an accident as well.

I don’t know how much this will change me, but it’s a good reminder that life is worth living.

Never Try to One Up Injuries or Sicknesses

Ok folks… lesson time.

If you ever have an injury or get sick… NEVER try to compare it to someone else’s situation.

I’ve had a pretty rough go of it this year. I’ve torn my Achilles twice and haven’t been able to drive for pretty much this whole year, I’ve been on crutches for close to 3 months, and at times it’s been pretty uncomfortable. It’s been one of the worst years of my life (so far) because I just like being an active person.

But you know what? People have it worse.

I still have my family. My friends have been great. Everyone seems helpful. Aside from this injury that most likely (hopefully) will heal like nothing happened, some people aren’t so lucky.

Someone I know recently got injured, and the first thing they said to me was “I can one up you”. Really? You REALLY can one up me? You have NO IDEA what my life has been like for 6 months even though you see me on a fairly regular basis. I also have no idea what you’ve been through and how much pain you’ve had. Just because I don’t complain about the pain, the constant discomfort, or how frustrating it is to have to rely on other people to go anywhere does not mean that I’m jolly good with my injury.

With that said, it’s also not as bad as it could be. A family close to me recently lost their father due to cancer. Someone not as close to me – but still important – left this world leaving behind a very young daughter. My injury has been no fun, but I wouldn’t switch my situation with those dealing with the situations I just described. Sure this whole thing is no fun (no fun at all – well…. except being able to swing with my crutches… that’s pretty fun), but things will get better for me. Even if they don’t, I’ve had a pretty good run and will deal with whatever punches I have to deal with.

But the bottom line is this: never try to one up injuries or sicknesses. It’s a race to the bottom and no one feels good afterwards. Everyone experiences how their feeling and their circumstances differently.

Remembering Friends from Memory

Here is a great little project… (with a tip of the cap to Derek Sivers):

Try to write down all the friends you’ve ever had – from memory.

No address book, no phone, no Facebook.  Just memory.

Remember all those people you met and connected with that made a difference in your life. It’s amazing how many are still in your head:
•        childhood friends you haven’t seen since you were 8
•        teachers
•        old crushes and flings
•        random encounters with great conversation
There are some you’ll remember who don’t remember you. (There are some you’ve forgotten who remember you well.)

I did mine as they came to me.  No real rhyme or reason.  I tried to go chronologically, but failed miserably.  What a trip.
Some, unfortunately, are dead.  Some might be.  Some of them have had their names changed.  Some really dislike me.

Some day in the future I’ll be dead, and hopefully this will still be posted.

To those listed here: I remember you off the top of my head, think of you fondly, and you permanently affected me, even if we haven’t talked in years. If you find this some day when Googling your name, contact me to say hello.

My Family
John Hogan
Carole Ketnourath
Andy Chi
Brian Dautarich
Brian Dominick
Dan Romig
Greg Fedigan
Nick Mancini
Kevin Pilipcsak
Ashley Musso (now Nangle)
Lauren Musso
Meghan Burnett
Stephanie Hutchinson
Claire Fefer
Emily Reutlinger
Diana Dilger
Meg Larche
Jeremy Cornue
Jeremy Leone
Troy Churney
Trevor Stroman
Frank Lomascolo
Brian Festa
Terry Lattimore
Brandon Shaw
Mr. Martin
Mrs. Bandas
Mrs. Cunliffe
Mike Mucedola
Tim Mirabito
Chris Hogan
Kevin Hogan
Tim Guzalak
Brianne Guzewicz
Anne Marie Purdy
Jamie Curtis
Liz Tabone
Charlie Mace
Jaime Collella
Amanda Chabot
Leanne Deacon
Anna Nellenback
Stacey Longley
Kevin Pearce
Ken Lumb
Katy Lumb
Mike Mills
Anna Capacefelo
Tracey Dare
Erin McKeon
Brian McKeon
Jason Colavito
John Malona
Jason Pollack
Christian Long
Tim Seamons
Leron Richards
Sol Kuckelman
Josh Strom
Cam Stewart
David Jacobsen
Andrew Houston
Alex Houston
Chris Klavins
Ashley Bedard
Alissa Nagy
Desmond Alexander
Aaron Morton
Jamin Alexander
Andrew Forbes
Ari Vigoda
Ed Durante
Kevin Neely
Kenny Hadden
Mark Anania
Matt Brogan
Ram Parimi
Andrew Murphy
Andy Kilpatrick
Tim Swanson
Kevin Corcoran
Brendan Mahoney
Matt Blocker-Glynn
Alex Cabal
Jon Connary
Dawn Brown
Brandi Cahill
Olivia Drake
Susan Cohen
Parker Smathers
Brandon Murphy
Marlin Nabors
Brendan Murpy
Jerry Russell
Julie Samere
Jon Palmer
Kellie-Anne Smith
Brooks Lustig
Sue Salles
Jeremiah Jester
Mike Lebeiko
Ryan Dalton
Brian Jones
Ryan Linstroth
Dan Bloom
Stephanie Quainoo
Sherry Sybertz
Maureen Isleib
John Maher
Amy Miller
Sarah Lazare
Pat Collier
Andy Collier
Joe Plis
Casey Galbelly
Cortney Geherin
Casey McCormick
Jared McCarthy
Sharon Blumenstock
Matt Angier
Lizzy Angier
Meghan Angier
Sarah Whitaker
Liz Hogan
Chip Freeman
Al Jogengen
Mary Sue Johengen
Maggie Johengen
Mariko Maeda
Mike Ciaccio
Mr. Tenity
Mrs. Reutlinger
Jessica Blum
Patrick Reihlman
Patrick Dougherty
Cheryl Brodowski
Callum Douglas
Stephanie Pruitt
Martin Wilshut
Halvor Sakshaug
Sean Ferris
Megan Clark
Josh Smith
Brooke Dayton-Dieterich
Steve Dekovich
Matt Chaelnick
Jason Checkanski
Rishi Barran
Tom Crawford
Becky Grant
Karen Sidor
Amanda Fredericks
Amanda Burgette
Dan Labonte
Krystal Gayle-O’Neill
Alex Arrango
Rachel Tuttle
Stephanie Nixon
Stephanie Austin
Angela Davis
Becky Starkenberg
Rosanne Ibanez
Jason Hogan
Crystal Goodman
Kedrick Perry
Becca Garrison
Missy Jenkins
AhDream Smith
Leah Coe
Ariel Schwartz
Andrew Leung
Jim Napoli
Holly Deering
Ed Warwick
Sarah Jean Kelly
Allyson Rea
Jen Varrone
Lori Hill Orth
Aaron Chung
Rob Yip
Javier Cabezas
Jose Rodriguez
Veronica Rivera
Daniel Markham
Crystal Bentley
Will Schaffer
Eric Carbaugh
Ashley Hoey
Jackie Borza
Mark McDonald
Kyle Beaudette
JD Forrest
Grier McCain
Scott Backer
Jayna Watkins
Marcie Erving
Katherine Michalik
Kate Mason
Kelly Schneider
Christie Lucarelli
Jeff Gavin
Elisa Del Valle
Tanya Purdy
Nick Goebel
Todd Porter
Josh Hamilton
Kate Melton
Lindsay Elliott
Jenn Grove
Kate Makinson
Doug McNabb
Andrew Brewer
Katie King
Trevor West
Chris Cruz
Christian Jackson
Phill Rhamey
Dom Hall
Liliana Carrasquillo
Ryan Anderson
Tabitha Beck
Amanda Stankus
Cara Engel
Dan Mason
Laurie Pollack
Randy Tarkington
Kennedy Odede
Yaeka Katsuta
Kristin Kyrka
Doug Chiarello
Cheryl-Ann Hagner
Marina Melendez
Amanda Erekson
Desiree Hoskins
Laura Chaussee
Maggie Pearce
Joel Oerter
Mike Sciola
John Maher
Jennifer Snyder
Joyce Walter
Christian West
Morgan Emmett
Bevin Connery
Marcus Ingram
Robin Nicholson
Andrew Klein
Samantha Klein
Art Zamora
Noel Garrett
Matt Miliken
Jessica Sims
Dave Abdallah
David Sims

To those not listed: My memory is far from perfect.  Sorry!

24 Hours to Live

So I’ve given this some thought (the whole, if I had 24 hours left to live thing)…  I mean, I’ve thought about the question before, and usually would answer something along the lines of doing things that I have never done before.  But that’s a cop-out, because I wouldn’t do that.

Well, I WOULD, but only as a backdrop to what I would really do.

So let me throw a few restrictions out there that I am working with.  I am assuming that I have 24 hours and won’t be in fading health.  This means that in 24 hours, I basically just drop dead.

The 2nd restriction is that I find this out in the morning.  If I found out at 7pm, it would kind of screw my plans up (though, my plan would be similar).

And my third restriction is that this is happening now.  Obviously, in the future things will be different, so I can’t speak on what I would want to do in 5 or 10 years.  So here we go…

The first thing I would do would be to call my parents and let them know that I have some good news and some really bad news.  The bad news is that I obviously am not going to live for more than a day, but the good news is that they are going to help throw a giant party.

When my great uncle died in 1999, he basically had money left for his funeral with the instructions to have the funeral, but then have a big gathering afterwards.  He wanted people to celebrate his life rather than mourn it.  I always thought that was a great idea.  Aside from the sadness of losing a loved one, I’ve loved the fact that funerals bring together so many people.   I just wish funerals weren’t such sad events.

So while my parents are busy helping to organize, I’d work to get my retirement savings out.  I’d use whatever money I had to help bring in the important people in my life; my brothers, my sister, my aunts, uncles, and cousins, my best friend John, and as many friends that I could pay for.  Then I would send out an e-mail/mass text to everyone else who is a part of my life and basically say that this is my last day on earth and I want to celebrate with them.

Once that is all taken care of, I’d start the drive home.  And I wouldn’t worry about the speed limit.  Obviously, I would be safe, but I wouldn’t worry whether I was a little or a lot over the speed limit.  Hey, I have less than a day to live, I don’t really care.

But then I’d spend the rest of my life with the people who mean the most to me.  We’d party late into the night.  There would be coffee and tea provided so that people could stay up.  Maybe buy a case of 5-Hour Energy drink.  But I wouldn’t drink (well, not a lot).  I’d want to be completely present during this time.

I’d see my last sunset/sunrise.

Assuming everyone said their goodbyes and went home, I’d love for my final moments to be with my immediate family and only the people who were closest to me.

I hate goodbyes (as I believe more in the “I’ll see you at some point in the future, so it’s not really good-bye” theory), but this would be a time of goodbyes.

And it would be awesome.