The secret of change is ...

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

~ Socrates

No thoughts in my mind, just peace

Before doctors figured out that I have a rare blood disease called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), I went unconscious seven times, typically vomiting while I was unconscious.

Right before the first event I was stumbling around my apartment like I had been poisoned, splashing cold water on my face, and generally just trying not to die. Despite my efforts, I went unconscious.

Right before the second event I thought, “If I live through this one, I need to update my will.”

Right before the third event I thought, “Apparently I’m going to die soon. I just want other people to be happy, and if I live, I want to help them however I can.”

After that, for events #4 through #7, along with three subsequent cases of allergic angina — what I call “fake heart attacks” — I had no significant thoughts in my mind, just peace.

These days when something bad happens I recall those 7-10 events, and know that I could have died during any of them. When I think that way, all of today’s little problems seem insignificant.

A little story about my brother-in-law’s funeral

When planning my brother-in-law’s funeral with a woman at the funeral home (I don’t know if she is considered a funeral director or something else), my father-in-law decided to get a limousine for the immediate family members. The limo would take everyone from the funeral home to church, then to the cemetery, and finally back to the funeral home.

When we were told that the limo could hold seven people and we calculated there were eight people we wanted to get in, I was voted off limo-island, but the funeral home woman said I could ride in the hearse. After clarifying whether I’d be sitting in the front or laying in the back – she said the front – I asked if I could drive the hearse. While she never said “yes,” I think she said, “Um, sure,” and I know that she later told a co-worker that I would be driving.

Feeling more free after my parents’ divorce

Something I just realized when writing a friend is that after my parents were divorced, everyone but my dad was much happier. During my senior year of high school my parents were still married and my dad had a child with a woman who wasn’t my mother, which led to the divorce. He could be verbally abusive at times — extremely so — and in our high school photos we often looked like the most depressed family in the world. But after he left, everyone felt more free to be themselves without fear of reprisal.

Authors love to hear “thanks”

I doubt that most people know it, but authors always enjoy receiving letters of “thanks” like this one. Writing is often a lonely, solitary business, and to hear that your work has helped other people is always satisfying. If there’s a book you’ve read that you really enjoyed, I encourage you to write the author a brief letter of thanks. They’ll appreciate it more than you’ll know.

Haven’t felt like working

Since my brother-in-law passed away on Monday I haven’t felt like working — and I haven’t had any time to work — but on the rare occasions I’ve thought about work, I’ve thought that Scala is a beautiful programming language, and I’m fortunate to be able to work with it.