Today I blog of my own mortality. I have no diagnosis yet, though heart disease is the prime concern. I may have many years to live yet, but in case I don’t, I wanted to share:

This wrenching sadness, this hopelessness that paralyses me, I can’t shake the dread. The fear that this sentence might be my very last urges me to write faster, but the cloud over my mind arrests my will. Was that a pain in my arm or simply imaginings of a tortured mind? Is my breath shallow from asphyxiation or merely racing my darkening imagination? Thirty-seven years is too young for this. I have a princess to raise, I have bills to pay. Funny how I’m worth more dead than alive.

The state of the union marches further toward its inevitable collapse while the bank owners quietly drain the account dry. They board their private yachts and high flying jets to conquer new empires in the almighty name of capitalism. Meanwhile the fish choke, ice melts, crops flourish, and more cattle grow in tiny boxes than have ever lived before. Progress it is called.

So what do I have to fear then? I’ll be leaving behind what exactly? Julia. And there it is. The love a father has for his daughter is immeasurable. The sadness of not being around when she needs her dad is empowering. But will that fear lend enough strength or is my ticket being punched?

I cry for all the untold stories,
Of Julia and Sam
and their adventures under the puddle,
For all the years lost,
For all the hugs missed
and all the tears shed.

So what can I say to her?

Love yourself. You are your own best advocate, so be loud lest you be drowned in obscurity. Take pride in the good things you do. Take criticism to heart, but try to hold it at arms length – especially the positive, lest it give you a bigger head than you deserve. Don’t let the negative deter you either, for as some people seek to help, many only seek to harm. Don’t feed the trolls.

Love others. Your comrades are out there waiting for you. Don’t be jealous of success – either deserved or not – for many of them are just like you. Sure, some of them are assholes, but everyone knows who they are and isn’t that good enough? Find your friends and keep them close. Be generous to them and don’t fear their ingratitude – use it to sort your list and remember that the list is fluid and always mixing.

Try often and try hard. You don’t have to succeed. Try anyway, for you might find you like something you never imagined you would. And when you try, give it all you’ve got. Unless you do, you really never tried at all. Don’t do the things you tried but don’t like. Do the things you tried and loved.

Be yourself. Don’t conform to standards unless they fit your own mold. Don’t be afraid to do the things you enjoy. You are not the only one and it isn’t “weird” or “gross”, it is who you are.

Find your own faith. No religion is right. All of them have good and bad parts – even atheism. No one can give you the answer to what comes after life (if I can/could I will/would have shown you already) so if they preach that, walk the other way, but do so smiling. They are only trying to help you in their own ways.

Take advantage of your advantages. The key to success often lies in someone else’s money pouch. Always repay your debts, otherwise your good name will only last so long. If the bill can never be repaid, honor your benefactor as is due.

Pay your taxes and don’t gripe about the less fortunate’s unfair advantages. If they really had more advantages, they’d not be so unfortunate.

Know that the world owes you nothing, but it is happy to lend you everything you need.

Embrace science, for even if there is a god, it is the one thing you can always depend on.

Travel. When you do, take an active interest in the culture and language. Everyone has a story to tell. Gather as many as you can. If you get to visit the heavens, leave something behind for me.

Read. Don’t skip the classics. They are classics for a reason. Don’t scoff at fantasy or fiction in general. It takes a lot of imagination and will to write a book, let alone a ten novel series.

Write. Always use correct grammar and punctuation, even in quick messages. Take pride in that extra moment you took to write “I’m shitting my pants” instead of “lol”. Share your thoughts with the world. If you blog them, just be anonymous. You are a beautiful woman and there are a lot of creeps.

Taste exotic flavors and never insult your host. Shelve your personal palate and diet on occasion and the next time you get to Korea, try the live, raw, squiggling octopus tentacles for me, please!

Live life for your legacy. 99.9% of us are forgotten within 100 years of our deaths. Strive to be remembered, in a good way.

Don’t fear death. You may die young – perhaps younger than me. You just never know. It’s sad, but it is life and life deals decks of many shapes and sizes. Sometimes you can delay the inevitable and sometimes you just can’t. Things you should do: look both ways, wear your helmet, don’t flip off strangers, always go out and come home with friends, steer clear of vans (especially white ones). Please don’t play close to the road, walk – don’t run, and chew with your mouth closed. Though you shouldn’t fear death, there is no reason to invite it.

Know that it is going to be okay. Never even consider hurting yourself. If you do, get help. It is not okay to have those thoughts. That is a medical sickness and doctors can help treat it. You are not a bad person for thinking them, just get help, please!

Know that I would be here if I could, and perhaps I will. My story may not be at a close quite yet. If there is a place we go afterwards, I will be waiting for you, and I hope I wait an eternity.