To all of you who have supported my family and I these past 4 weeks, “THANK YOU!”
On Easter night, I was taken to the ER with a 105.5 degree fever and delirious. While there, things seemed to get better and initial tests all came back ok, so I was admitted for observation. About an hour later, my body shut down. I was told when I woke up in the ICU that I had sepsis due to a severe infection and had almost died.
I spent 10 days in ICU before being released to the care of wife. I was diagnosed with a chronic condition, Common Variable Immune Deficiancy (CVID), and will be undergoing treatment on an ongoing basis. With some changes to my lifestyle and some extra precautions, I’ll lead a pretty normal life.
A lot goes through your mind when you’re in the hospital, particularly the ICU. It can be a stressful and terrifying place; completely counterproductive when you’re trying to focus on getting better. Luckily I had my family by my side for much of my stay, and I had the love, prayers and support of you all.
To those who donated money to help cover my medical expenses, thank you so much. Not having to stress about how we would pay for my recovery and treatment allowed me to remain focused. To those who sent care packages, what you sent kept me entertained when boredom was practically impossible to avoid. And to those who sent cards, emails and notes, your words kept me feeling connected; something I really needed when I felt alone and scared.
I can’t thank you all enough. Your support has helped us get through a tough time. I consider you all much more than a professional community, you are my friends. And I am eternally grateful for that.
I’d also like to share some things I learned/observed while recovering. They may sound cliche, but none-the-less, I now find them more important than ever.
Slow the fuck down.
I’ve had a lot of success in the past few years. I have an amazing job that allows me to explore the things that interest me. I’ve written, spoken and been invited to educate major organizations. And I’ve been asked to collaborate on projects with people I consider my idols.
It’s all great. It’s amazing. And I wish the same for all of you. But if you’re anything like me, then this success also breeds a fear, something that goes beyond just imposter syndrome. It drives you to always feel like you have to be doing more. Always be working to be ahead of the curve. Racing. Fighting for the attention. Dreading being forgotten and losing it.
And so you spend countless hours working, investigating, comparing, plotting. And then you worry some more, so you repeat, over and over again.
Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who found myself there. But either way…
None of that matters. There are times when “hustle” matters, sure. But this isn’t hustling. This is paranoia. When you’ve got something worth saying, say it. Put it out there. Great. But don’t immediately start thinking (worrying) about what you’re going to say next. Just live your life. Pay attention to and enjoy the things that really matter: your family, your friends, your real life. Eventually some other idea will strike you and you can put that out too.
I got so caught up trying to stay ahead of the curve, convincing myself that I was doing it for the good of my career which was in turn providing a better life for my family, that I neglected to think about how much I’d miss that life if I wasn’t there to watch it happen. So just relax and slow down.
Hurry the fuck up.
You never know when you’re going to go. I felt fine all day on Easter. We had our traditional family gathering. I smoked chicken wings and cooked steaks. The kids ran around the yard hunting for eggs and then ate far more candy than any 3-4foot being should consume. And then in the course of a very short time, it nearly ended for me. It sounds over-dramatic, but it’s true. And I consider myself very lucky to be here an as healthy as I am.
There are projects I’ve had in the back of my mind for years, some of them since high school. I’ve always held off on them for one reason or another. Perfection is the most prevelant of those. Knowing that what’s in my head will likely never be what I finally produce, but thinking, “if I just wait a bit longer, I’ll be better and I can get closer”. Second is time, convincing myself that there are more important things to be done and that they leave no time for these “distractions”
And yes, before anyone starts telling me how stupid that is, I already know that and have for a long time. I’ve read most of the popular books on creativity and productivity. The creative process itself has become an obsession of mine that I’ve explored as part of my job through countless interviews and discussions with artists and makers of all types. But I’ve always struggled with it.
But now I’m scared. Scared that I’ll never get any of them out. That these creations that I’ve always wanted to share with others, that I’ve wanted to see others look at, use, read, and experience will never exist - in any form. That I’ll never have the experiences of going to certain places and making these ideas real.
I can’t let that happen, and if you’re in a situation at all like this, neither should you. Now I very well may never get to all of them. But I have to start. Fuck perfection. In this case I’ve determined that “something” truly is better than “nothing”. As for time - I can’t take time away from the imortant things, enjoying the time i have with family and friends - but if I think really hard about my day, I know that there is a ton of wasted time doing shit that really doesn’t matter. I need to collect that and get rid of it. I hope you’ll do the same.
Sorry for the rant. Thank you again to all of you who have supported me. I will never be able to repay you.