Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Exceeding a goal

A new year is upon us. For me, it is a wonderful time for it far exceeds a goal I set for myself when I was just a youngster. I was born in the 1930s and seeing the year 2000 wasn’t an impossibility but was doubtful. However, with a couple major exceptions my family hasn’t had a good track record of longevity. The exceptions are notable: Both my maternal grandmother and my fraternal grandfather stayed with us until they were well into their 90s.

I had a lot going against me. Growing up I was considerably overweight. I began smoking in my teens, and I may have experienced some alcohol before I reached legitimacy.

I’m still overweight but I stopped smoking in 1980. Shortly after that, I had my last beer. Nevertheless, the odds were totally against my seeing the year 2000. My only and older brother passed more than 15 years ago. He was the epitome of a super human being. His weight was perfect for his beautiful 6’ plus frame. He played tennis and golf with great regularity so was in superior condition. But he met his match when he contracted the Big C. I never knew him to speak ill of another living being. I don’t think he ever had cigarette in his mouth, and I never saw him take a drink. And he was active in his church. Yet he did not see the year 2000.

I was fortunate. I reached my goal as the 21st Century arrived. I was still alive. My goal had been reached. Since then, though, it’s been an uphill battle. Shortly after the year began, I fell and crushed my hip. I’m still physically paying for that one. The following year I had what doctors call a Triple A…burst abdominal aortic aneurysm. For many people, this leads to death after about 12 minutes. I won’t go into the rest here, but obviously I beat the odds. I did have a resultant heart attack, though.

It’s now 6 years later and I’m still beating the odds. My goals have changed somewhat. Instead of setting goals several years down the road, my goal now is simply to wake up the next morning.

I reached that goal today, the beginning of yet another new year for me.

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