Friday, April 27, 2007


My mom got cancer when I was 18, and I did the whole cliché live-for-the-moment, each day like the it’s the last, party like it’s 1999 thing.

Then I got cancer myself. It gave me a lot of time to ponder the meaning of life, sitting around waiting for chemo to finish, watching buoyant college kids hugging Bob Barker on the Price is Right. And what was my deep, meaningful realization?

I really, really like being alive.

I’m sure that doesn’t seem like such a profound thing. You probably think everyone feels that way. I just don’t think other people feel quite as strongly about it as I do. I just can’t stress this point enough: Life = Good Stuff.

So, having figured this out, I have become a bit of a nervous Nellie. Even the remotest chance of losing life or limb is too much for me.

Odds of getting hit by lightning? 1 in 240,000. I still head inside the minute I hear thunder.

Shark attack? 1 in 11.5 million. Think about this next time you see me waist deep in the ocean, scanning the water for phantom fins, before I bail 10 minutes later.

Take two weeks ago. A friend owns a big 16-seater tourism truck, and he took us for a ride up hills, through villages, and down overgrown rural roads. It was a beautiful day. Everyone loved it. What was I thinking?
  • I’m going to fall out the back of this thing and end up with a permanent brain injury.
  • The truck is going to flip over, fall off this cliff, and kill us all. Do I have enough time to jump out the back first?
  • We are never going to make it across this bridge.
  • We are going to get stuck in the mud and have to walk back in the dark, and will probably get lost for days, or attacked by angry villagers.

This is slightly ironic, because everyone tells me how brave I am. I’m constantly in situations of potential harm. I work in war zones. I swim in bilharzia-ridden waters, and towel off surrounded by malarial mosquitoes.

I eat cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

Maybe I haven’t ever given up on that whole livin’ life to the fullest crock. I just grit my teeth, obsessively worry the whole time, and then get home and think “well, that wasn’t so bad after all.”

Anyway, here are some pics from the most recent life-threatening adventure:


LEX said...

That is why Jorge is a good match for you and balences you out, because he does all the stupid stuff that you are too smart to do.
But that unpasteurized cheese thing has got to stop!
Stay alive Gwen!