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I shouldn’t be here. No really, I shouldn’t be here. You see 10 years ago I was told that I had two weeks to live. They told me that in two weeks I would be dead. I was due to go on two weeks’ holiday, but they told me don’t do that; you’ll come back in a cardboard box. They asked me had I thought about my funeral plans? They sent me out into the late summer sun of a September day, 1 September 2006, and I remember feeling the sun on my face and thinking I need to remember how this feels because I won’t be feeling it for much longer.But I am still here. And glad to be here. But in trying to find my way with a broken compass for a heart, trying to survive a tsunami of emotions, trying to keep steady when the ground kept shifting under my feet, I have had to design my own Art of Living.

It’s so easy in the whirlwind of everyday living, in the mad frenzy of our lives, to lose sight of the fact that we have all, a limited number of days to live. How many of us can say we have really, truly, learnt the Art of Living? It’s all too easy to forget how important each day is. Because we will never have that day again. So often we spend today planning for tomorrow. But how do you ask yourself where you want to be tomorrow when there is NO tomorrow? But as it became clearer that I would live longer, that I could live longer, so I learned to live for each day, for today.

I make each day special, each day unique, different. Not with any grand, spectacular gesture. After all, I am a gay man; I’ve been doing grand spectacular gestures from the age of three! But with something memorable. My illness caused, amongst other things, considerable memory loss, so for example I have difficulty remembering faces and names, forgive me. Out in the town with my partner he will nudge me and say ‘smile, that’s a neighbour’ and I smile sweetly and they are pleased. The next day, on my own, I do not recognise that person and so do not smile, and they think me rude. But at the end of each day I can remember the colour of a flower. The scent of a spring morning. A smile shared with a stranger. A joke shared with an old friend. An embrace shared with my lover. The things that touch my heart. That touch your heart. And I stop to store that memory. And at the end of that last day, my final day of days, the only questions I want to ask myself are…. did I laugh enough? Did I love enough? Did I make a difference? And that is my Art of Living.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy. Yes, there are days when all I want is for you to fold me in your arms. Hold me close. Tell me it will all be all right. And I will believe you. I have no choice. I am a cracked dam, a flash flood of emotions. I reinvent myself. I am becoming. Always becoming. Never arriving. Never reaching. Never finished. Never perfect. Because if I reach perfection then that’s the end. And I don’t want to reach the end yet. Not quite yet. There’s so much unfinished business. I want to be someone. We all want to be someone! But I’m afraid to be someone. Remembered for what? Remembered for dying, rather than for living? And so my gift to you today, is my Art of Living. In the still of each night ask yourself: today did I make a difference? Have I laughed enough? Have I loved enough?

Click here to email me or call me on 07752 518 925 if you know the answers, or if you need help to find your answer.

 

 

One Comment

  • Simon Horvat-Marcovic says:

    I also strive to live each day to the full, especially as my world employed just over 2 years ago. One thing I do envy you . Is having a partner to share your journey with. After my 13 year relationship with 9 years Civil Partnership came to an end, I am alone for over 2,5 years. After over possibly 25 years of having a succession of partners. Maybe having a month going solo in between the various boyfriends & girlfriends. I hope that now I am rebuilding my life. I will Be Lucky enough to fine someone to share life with.

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