Happy birthday, Izzy*! We’ve made it an entire six times around the sun, all thanks to you and a (still unidentified) stem cell donor. Between the two of us, I think you’re our better half. You’re such a trooper!
The past year we’ve survived: the greater part of a global pandemic, vaccinations with uncertain outcomes, random infections and four rounds of antibiotics, the opening and closing and reopening and re-closing and somewhat-reopening of the city we call home, becoming a plant daddy, changing our hair color twice, starting a new job at a wild biotech startup, moving into our own apartment, making new friendships and rekindling old ones, seeing people I love commit their lives to one another, seeing I people love survive covid-19… this list goes on. Suffice it to say, we’ve made it through a lot this year, and I’m happy to have just a bit more time on this little blue rotating rock we call Earth.
It’d be remiss for me to spout a long, gushy note about the wonders and glories of life, the enlightening mysteries I’ve unlocked, or the (seemingly obvious) life lessons I’ve learned. Dear Izzy, you’ve heard all these things and know them as intimately well as I do. After all, we’ve lived through them together.
It would be naively optimistic of me to skip over the challenges we’ve faced this year, and more importantly the growth that’s happened as a result of them. While we’ve cleared the seemingly worst ‘physical parts’ of severe aplastic anemia, the rest of the ‘living parts’ as we resume life are arguably just as difficult.
Nobody quite prepares you for when relationships begin to fade and drift away as life takes you down different paths; or, when people you love, who have been aging with you all along, age faster than you’re ready for; or, when the plight for the meaning of life lands you at ‘just ride the wave’ (which for me is an incredibly unsatisfying conclusion partially because I’m terrible at surfing); or, when the reality that nobody can save you but yourself really sinks in, and true happiness can only come from within.
Izzy, I’m so proud of you, and I’m still so grateful for you. Thank you for granting me more time here. I’m truly treasuring all the moments I can get with the people I love. It’s been an incredible ride, with many bumps, bruises, and scars along the way. Thank goodness for collagen, and thank goodness for you!
So what now?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. What do I know is I want to keep spending the rest of whatever time I have left with people I love, doing the things I love. It’s all uncharted territory from here on out. Buckle in; let’s keep adventuring.
*For those following along later in the game, Izzy is the name of my immune system. See: here.