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[personal] Living each day as if it were your last - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2009-01-07 05:52
Subject: [personal] Living each day as if it were your last
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, funny, personal
Calvin and Hobbes on living each day as if it were your last.

That was one of the big lessons of cancer for me. You never know. The morning last spring that the Mainspring mass market paperback was released, I woke up happy and excited. That same evening I came within a couple of minutes of dying in the ER.

Since my recovery, I've really been pretty ruthless about how I live my life, who and what I embrace, and how I spend my time. Which is not to say I don't fritter away hours and days. Rather, I fritter them knowingly. And I still do things I don't necessarily want to do — a paycheck is needed for the mortgage, whether or not I'm going to die today.

But I do those things with a purpose, as I do other things. Parent the_child. Write fiction. Love the people closest to me. Blog even.

I'm still inefficient as hell. I can waste time like nobody's business. I still wish I were half as productive as my reputation would have me. I still make mistakes, follow false trails, misunderstand people and things. But that's okay, because it's all part of being human. I just do it all purposefully, with satisfaction. And I learn.

In the comic, Calvin wants to read Captain Napalm. In real life, I want to write it. And in the mean time, I'll laugh, love and make limeade.

I'm lucky to have learned this stuff before life's sweet inevitability killed me off.

Originally published at jlake.com.

Post A Comment | 19 Comments | | Link






manmela
User: manmela
Date: 2009-01-07 14:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I saw a documentary recently that said that all those unproductive things - the things we do to procrastinate - are a necessary part of being a writer. When you consider that being human and the experience (good, bad or indifferent) that comes with it are interchangeable with being a writer, it's probably saying the same thing as you.

My problem, I've realised, isn't so much genuine procrastination or not living each day as if it's my last, but fear. Fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of having wasted my time. I'm sure a psychologist could have a field day with me!
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-01-07 14:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You know, if I have a true talent in this life, it may be that I'm generally not the least bit afraid of looking (or even being) stupid. Your comment reminds me what a blessing that is...
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manmela
User: manmela
Date: 2009-01-07 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
2 months ago, I would have said the same, but I've found, through a (sometimes frightening) system of really documenting my thought and writing process in absolute detail with candid honesty that whilst the outward persona is carefree, self-deprecating and not afraid to be a fool, my inner self where the writer in me resides is deeply self conscious.

It's all a bit zen and very unlike me, but in the absence of a life changing experience like your own (which I'll be honest and say I am glad I haven't had), it's a fascinating and surprisingly joyous experience.

In 2009, I vow to make more of a fool of myself and write prose so terrible I can be proud of it. You have all been warned!

Thanks for such an excellent post
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-01-07 14:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are most welcome, sir. And best of luck on your journey.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-01-07 14:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are most welcome.
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Jim C. Hines
User: jimhines
Date: 2009-01-07 14:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Cancer sucks.

Not that you didn't already know this...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-01-07 14:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes. I'm sorry, my friend.
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sheelangig
User: sheelangig
Date: 2009-01-07 15:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

So. When are you going to write Captain Napalm?
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User: clowe
Date: 2009-01-07 15:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That was a beautiful post. Thank you.
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2009-01-07 17:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I can still remember waking up from my first serious surgery, thinking, "waaa? alive? how that happen?". With the second one, I did see the white lite experiance in recovery, which I felt was a right real hoot.

Its when we dont learn from our experiances is when they are wasted.
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User: darkerblogistan
Date: 2009-01-07 18:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:pic#83517393
I would live each day as if it were my last, if it were not for the inevitability of consequence.
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User: jdack
Date: 2009-01-07 18:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was going to say something similar. The problem with living each day like it's the last, is it usually isn't, and you have to wake up tomorrow and deal with what you did today.
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Chris McKitterick: just Chris
User: mckitterick
Date: 2009-01-08 00:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:just Chris
This is something I've really been trying to internalize over the past few years. I still don't get it, even though I know it's the most important thing I can learn. What's the meaning or purpose of life? What does it mean to love? How does one live a meaningful life, have a right livelihood, and still be happy?

I don't know the answers to any of these things, so I go to work, teach the young'uns the best I can, write the best I can, be the best friend and partner that I can (though that is frought), and try to find those answers.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-01-08 01:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's all you can do. My motto seriously is, "Make new mistakes." And do the things I really want to do - in the context of being loving and responsible.
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2009-01-08 02:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:fireworks
I learned that one about the mistakes from Lucy Maud Montgomery, via her wonderful character Anne Shirley.

Anne: "Tomorrow is a new day. With no mistakes in it."

Her teacher, Miss Stacy: "No mistakes in it yet."
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Chris McKitterick: evolution-robot
User: mckitterick
Date: 2009-01-13 08:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:evolution-robot
I like that a lot, because making the same ones or fighting the same issues on and on gets really fatiguing!
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User: myaineko.blogspot.com
Date: 2009-01-09 03:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I love the phrase "ruthless about how I live my life." Very neat way of encapsulating the sentiment. Should be a motto for living.

Now back to the limeade :-)

Alvaro
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Somewhat Bent: Blessings
User: ladyallyn
Date: 2009-03-10 10:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Blessings
Amazing how looking at the Reaper does that, eh?

I had a serious motorcycle accident Jan 2, 1986. Changed how I look at the world, indeed.

Got reacquainted with the Grim Guy in Mar '07 -- had a stroke. Just in case I'd forgotten the attititude adjustment, I guess.

I'm doing well, now, as I hope you are.
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