I have always had this thought in my head that I was going to do something great one day, but never knew what. I am constantly asking myself questions all of the time in regards to what I really want to do, but have never found any concrete answers, and it has been chipping away at me each and every day for years. I know what I like, but what do I love? What is my passion? What am I destined to do? Is this something I will be proud of ten years down the road? I’m 27, and I still don’t really have everything figured out; all I do know is that I don’t want to spend my life feeling “stuck” doing something that I find meaningless. I want to be able to look back on my life and be satisfied with who I am and what I have done.
Through self-interrogation, I’ve found that what makes me feel good is when I make other people feel good, especially about themselves, and that I want to make a difference in people’s lives; whether it is one person or potentially millions. I want to take my experiences, my mistakes, my regrets, my victories, everything, and be able to share what I have learned with people who are maybe in the same place I recently was. I want to show them that no matter how down or horrible life may seem at times, it is basically just testing you to “see whatcha got”. When you are confronted with a difficult situation or any obstruction, you have the choice to let it block your path and stop you from where you are going, or you have the choice to find a way around it and keep moving forward. I personally choose to knock my road-block down, right on it’s ass, screw the detour, and now I am traveling (slightly over the speed limit) cruising headed straight for “Achievement Avenue.” If you are headed in my direction I mostly certainly have room for you, but if you are headed south toward “Sink Town,” you might want to consider a boat to keep you afloat to get you to where you are going. Metaphors aside, most importantly, I am on the path in which I am proud of who I am and what I am doing.
So, I got “the feeling” that I can feel it in my gut, when something good or bad is going to happen. I am sometimes not very good at articulating these gut feelings into words that others will always understand. My gut has an innate ability to sense the good and the bad in the near future, and over-time I’ve learned that I need to just go with what my gut is trying to tell me. It is a tingling in my stomach, a subtle feeling of nauseousness, but I am able to differentiate it from being sick. Well, I got the feeling a few days ago, and today I have had it all day long, which somehow turned into me dancing and singing like a crazy fool around the house in my headphones singing Carly Rae Jepsen songs.
“Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine” (Mario Fernandez). It couldn’t be more true for me right now. Last year, I basically experienced a living-hell. If you know me at all or have kept up with me via Facebook or my blogs you may know a little bit, or maybe even a lot about of what I’ve endured. The storm (more like a category 5 hurricane), came and went, the fog followed shortly after, and now I can finally see the sun peaking through the clouds.
As I mentioned earlier, I have always had in my mind that big things were eventually going to come my way, but I just didn’t really know what I wanted or where I wanted to direct my energy towards. My aunt has also always had a big vision of what her future would hold, which would include helping people in some way, but she wasn’t exactly sure how either. In the past couple of years she has been brainstorming several ideas, but it is not until I got ill, that Caryn and I realized that our own strengths and weaknesses complement each other, and we make a great team together.
With that being said, we have formed a community outreach group called COPE (Community Outreach for Purpose and Empowerment) which we have just recently launched this week. I have been working hard to put together the website, Facebook, Twitter, yada yada and it is up and running. Caryn has been really excited for COPE, and her energy feeds right into mine, and then I start to get excited. It’s hard to say exactly where we are going from here, but what I am certain of is that the combination of Caryn and myself with our driven, resilient minds, and huge dreams collaborating together, there is not a doubt in my mind that we are going to change people’s lives.
As horrific and terrifying this past spring/summer was for me, I could not be more thankful for everything that has resulted from it, because it has gotten me to this place that I am at now. Besides bringing me back home closer to my awesome, one-of-a-kind, loving family, my frame-of-mind is like it has never been before. I think it is a mind-set that I do not see many others experiencing for themselves. I am not convinced that many people out there dream like I dream. Even if they do dream big like me, the difference between my dreams and their dreams is that I actually believe that my dreams are going to come true. My aunt is the same way. That is why we make a great team together, and that is why COPE is going to be awesome; because we will not let the opportunity arise for it to fail.
This past year has been a test for me. I had many chances to give-up and throw the towel in. It was a test of my inner strength, a test of my character, and a test of who I am. Each illness or set-back I acquired was an obstacle. I had to be patient and overcome all of the “obstacles” thrown at me. It was, and still is difficult sometimes, to have your entire life changed. It has required great patience, and ask anyone in my family, “patience” isn’t exactly my greatest attribute. Somehow, I was victorious over impatience and even though I was deathly ill, I have been successful in overcoming every obstacle in my way thus far. I did not just overcome the obstacles, but in some ways, I came out even better than before I was sick.
I have learned so much in the last few months about life, about myself, and what is truly significant. I’m sure it is difficult to relate to me unless you have walked in my shoes, because I don’t even know that “me” a year ago could even relate to myself now, simply because I, myself, had never experienced anything of this magnitude or of this great importance before. I mean what is of greater importance than your own life? It took me practically dying on more than one occasion for me to come to the realization, that this is my life, this is my body. Any change I wish to see in myself, and any goals I want to pursue, has to start with me, and nobody else. I understand that what I went through is not exactly easy for everyone to relate to because they haven’t been in the same near-death situation, but what I can offer is a deeper appreciation for what is meaningful in life. No matter who you are, or what you do, something is of meaning to you, and I learned that no matter what you previously thought was of great meaning to you, nothing outweighs your family, friends, and most importantly yourself.
What I am here to say today is that everything that happened to me, happened for a reason. Of course, my life would be so much easier and less expensive if I did not need a liver transplant or two major brain surgeries, but it has made me who I am and the person I was supposed to become. I will embrace what I have learned and who I have become and live this new, totally different life-style with great meaning that I hope to share and inspire others within our newly-formed group, COPE, and in my day-to-day life as well.
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