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  • Writer's pictureRobert Weidner


Let’s get right down to it.

I’m a disabled veteran who contracted the Superman of bacteria in the Persian Gulf (one of the first documented cases of Community Associated MRSA), had his nose cauterized, spent eighteen years tongue-tied (the surgery was photographed for a medical textbook), lost large swaths of pigment due to Vitiligo, and suffered from spinal meningitis at three months old. Oh, and at present, am dealing with an abdominal hematoma. Less than one percent of the population will experience these conditions, let alone all of them.

Add to the list an extra ear lobe (removed at birth), an extra wisdom tooth (removed aboard an aircraft carrier), a pigeon chest (I opted out of surgery), and irritable bowel syndrome for the complete picture. Plus, anything that’s gone undiagnosed, and a handful of things I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Sometimes I wonder, why have I had so many ailments, when others have so few? Genetically disposed? Parents smoked while I was in the womb? Bad luck?

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Everyone has their shit. Some things are just out of our control. It’s not what got you here, but where you go next, that makes all the difference.

Deal with your past. Process it. But don’t dwell on it. Seek to overcome.

Look to the future. Decide what comes next, and step forward.

Don’t let the current push you downstream, only to find yourself smashed on the rocks. Take the paddle and steer. Be an active — not passive — participant in your own life. To become self-actualizing, we must first be self-directed.

We are surrounded by ghosts. Echoes of our past, manifested in the present. Disease. Trauma. Blame. Regret. Put down your burden. Who do you carry those bricks for?

You won’t change the past. Cannot. It is but a memory anyway.

The future… merely a projection.

But in this moment, you can shape your existence.

Choose wisely.

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