It’s been difficult for the past few days to not feel like life is passing me by.
A group of peers recently finished their journey towards becoming scuba instructors, and as I’ve read the updates and checked out the pictures it’s been difficult not to let jealousy and even some small amount of anger and frustration through. Not at any of them, certainly — other people’s success or failures have no impact on my own, and I’m definitely happy for a couple of them (don’t know the whole group). It’s just that it’s a reminder of where I was going and what it meant to me. Took me a few days to figure that out, to understand why this was upsetting me this weekend, but it came to me last night as a minor epiphany.
I’m not sure I can ever really explain to most folks what scuba diving, and getting into it professionally as a hobby (I kept the day job) has meant to me. Getting to share something so non-competitive and fun and help folks on that road was a big purpose in my life, albeit one I adopted later than I had wished, and I relished every moment of it. I had a goal of someday becoming an instructor and doing it actively when it wouldn’t hamper my time with my daughter, and maybe putting in the teaching and ass-kissing time to lead some trips via my dive shop some day.
There was a comfort in that, a goal, at least some path that I could follow, and I worked hard at both it and my reputation and work ethic at the shop. I sacrificed time with my family for it, and fought tooth and nail to keep it in my life once or twice because it really was my only avenue to sanity sometimes. I ate shit more than once when I needed to from people I’d laugh out of my office were the situation reversed and I did it smiling because I always had a goal in mind, refusing to let small-mindedness, drama, rude customers or stupidity get in the way of the long-term plan.
Plus I kept meeting more and more fun people and solid friends diving, something I haven’t really had most of my life either. I think about it now and I honestly don’t think I socialize with anyone who doesn’t dive, come to think of it.
But everyone else’s world keeps turning while mine has ground to a halt. Christ I can’t even dive recreationally right now since I’m healing slow and they are punching holes in me on a weekly basis. Not to mention the fact that most weekends I’m a post-chemotherapy mess, so even were I not worried about rubbing a recent injection site with a wet wetsuit for 8 hours straight I couldn’t be relied upon. Nope, now I just watch from the sidelines. I watch friends make new dive trip plans, and new instructors get hatched. I look forlornly at the aquarium schedule I used to take so much pride in being on without my name on it anymore. I wonder if I’ll have the balls to even go to the next staff meeting.
And I go home, and hug my daughter, and hope she doesn’t understand any of this, even though she loves to point at any picture of a diver and say “daddy!” I had hoped to live long enough to go diving with her, but that seems almost out of my grasp now. I can read the survivability studies as well as anyone else — most likely the only way I’ll even live long enough to see her get to go snorkeling is if they cure my disease.
I was thinking about all of this Sunday on a walk with my father-in-law and daughter as I noted yet another car with one of those annoying “my kid is a blah blah blah honor student” bumper stickers. I want live long enough to have one of those on the Mustang. Or twenty. Fuck, even that’s a stretch … I’m not sure how many goals I get to really have anymore … maybe I should consolidate down to key ones, like hoping that my slow and agonizing death from incurable blood cancer doesn’t permanently scar my daughter when daddy dies before she’s even a teenager. Sigh.
Granted, it’s a goal, just not quite a fun one as becoming a scuba instructor was.
But that whistling sound is my past life and all of it’s goals like wind through my old motorcycle helmet. You wouldn’t think, four weeks before turning 43, that you’d have to feel like this.
On a side note, I’ve wondered lately when it hurts this bad how much worse it would be if it weren’t for the LexaPro. I’m guessing this would be one of those “stop by Cabela’s for a shotgun, yes/no?” sort of days, but instead I’m just feeling sorry for myself and wishing I had another fucking venti soy latte.
Why won’t this just go away? Why do I have this when such horrific scum are out there living perfectly healthy lives? And people wonder why I don’t buy into religion.