Recently, a dear friend sent me a message on Facebook that said:
I dreamed of you last night. You were walking with someone, talking about plans of action for your advocacy, it was rainy, you had your hood on, had a terrible cough. I was there but not there, trying to tell you that you needed to be indoors, resting. You turned a corner and disappeared, The End...Take care of yourself and be sure to schedule some rest...and then be sure to keep the appointment
I thought the sentiment was exceptionally sweet. And her dream certainly wasn't too far off the mark of real life, because I'm always talking about some plan of action for advocacy, and I love wearing hoodies in inclement weather.
Yes, I am an adult black man who wears hoodies.
This message struck me as odd though, because it was sent from someone who lives 3,000 miles away from me, and it wasn't the first time during that week that someone had made a comment about concern for my health, be it consciously or subconsciously.
In essence, my lifestyle can be summed up in one short statement.
I'm always on the move, and that's exactly how I like to live my life. I hate sleeping. It's a waste of time. If I could take a pill that would allow me to function 24 hours a day, I would. Alas, there isn't such a pill. And furthermore, I'm not spring chicken. At some point, I have to sleep.
I used to sleep 4 hours a night. And sometimes, I still do. And of course, that was an area of concern for friends of mine.
You gotta sleep more! It's not healthy! Blah, blah, blah!
And yes, deep down, I know they're right. But it's just not in my nature. I'm accustomed to running the engine in the red. In the words of the great Bob Marley,
“The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”
It used to be my advantage. It's one of the things that made me good while deployed in Afghanistan. And now, I definitely feel like I need more sleep, and I've been trying real hard to get more. But that truly entails a full lifestyle shift.
And that's hard.
Beyond health concerns, another friend asked me a very direct question recently;
"Do you have a will?"
The question stemmed from the fact that I spend a lot of time out and about in the city. Often in my car, sometimes on bike, and sometimes on foot. When possible I will volunteer in community outreach events, and advocacy work, that will often take me into some of the more dangerous areas of the city. I wholeheartedly feel that is part of what is needed to see our city turn around the increasing violence we're seeing in the city.
But it also presents the opportunity of me finding myself in a precarious situation, and it is something that crosses my mind from time to time.
The answer to the above question is no. However, following our conversation, I suppose I will draft up at least some notes in the event that something should happen to me.
- How would I know if something happened to you?
- Who would call all your friends?
- Does someone have the security code to your phone?
- Does someone have the password to your Facebook?
Following the rapid fire peppering of questions (Kudos to you Veronica), I suppose it is reasonable that I gather at least that information.
And so all of this forces me to think of my own mortality, which for me is a rather simple and easy endeavor.
As I always say;
And after spending so much time while in Afghanistan worrying about being killed, and tomorrow could be the day, etc, etc...it's like my mind is numb to the thought. And if I do die, I would like for it to mean something. That's all that I can really hope for. I stopped believing years ago that I would make it to a ripe old age and die with family and grandchildren present...that just doesn't feel like reality to me.
But it's natural to fear the unknown. However, I have yet to know anyone to come back and complain, so I suppose it can't be too bad. and that's about as far as my thoughts get on the topic...and like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.
See what I did there?
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