Confronting Mortality

I nearly died Saturday night. That would’ve sounded like the setup for a joke to me, until I woke up in the emergency room. There was nothing quippy or funny about my condition, or the surety that I’d put myself there.

My health has been less than optimal since 2005, but I’ve changed my habits very little in response. I became more sedentary, and missed the more active lifestyle I’d had before. But I kept eating the same, kept drinking the same, and ignored ever more strident warnings that I should change both.

Saturday night, I was out with friends celebrating Halloween. It was the first time I’d been out in a couple of months, and also the first time I’d had much to drink. Sober me had taken it easy for several hours, but by 1am, drunk me had taken over and forgotten how alcohol tolerances work. I got a stark reminder.

Changing behavior is difficult, but not impossible. I’ve already changed my diet over the past year, and gone without alcohol for weeks at a time as well. Turns out, I need to do more than that. I’ve seen family members who wouldn’t put the bottle down, and buried them when the bill came due. I’ll choose a different path, no matter how difficult it may be.

I’m alive, and I plan to stay that way as long as possible. So Happy All Saint’s Day from the land of the living. May we celebrate another one together a year from now.

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